The Kiss (2003)

Rating: B

Dir: Gorman Bechard
Star: Francoise Surel, Eliza Dushku, Terence Stamp, Billy Zane

Love stories aren’t our usual fare here at TC, but we were intrigued by this, supposedly based on the famous Robert Doisneau photo, Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville, which hung above our bed until we redecorated. That’s something of a stretch; perhaps they couldn’t get the rights, but the pic here only vaguely resembles it. Otherwise, liked this more than expected: despite some romantic cliches, including the worst of all (terminal illness), we still connected with the characters, and must admit to moist eyes at certain points. Cara (Surel) is an editor for a publishing house who finds an old manuscript, telling a passionate Parisian story. However, it has no ending, so egged on by her flatmate (Dushku), she has to find the author (Stamp) and convince him to let her publish it.

Filmed in 2002, the film was subsequently recut and rescored to the horror of the writer/director; he apologised for the result on the movie website [it has some of the original music]. I can see his point: it must suck to have your “baby” taken away, and I’d be fascinated to see his cut, yet this is far from bad. Stamp, especially, is great, and Dushku is good in her role too; Surel is okay, though I believe she is the producer’s wife, so talent may have been irrelevant. 🙂 But I think it’s Bechard’s script that works, and if you’ve been/are in love, you’ll find much resonance. If you see one romance this year – probably about our quota – you could do an awful lot worse.

[Footnote] The director, Gorman Bechard, writes: “I guess I’m shocked that anyone liked The Kiss in its present form…so thanks for the kind words. (Especially about the script.) Yes, the script was originally based on the Doisneau image, but we could not get the rights. So, I created something similar, but obviously nowhere near as wonderful. I was originally told by Artist View I could do a director’s commentary, but I guess the head honcho changed his mind, or was lying. (It would have been eye opening, as I don’t really believe in holding back.) Such is life… My new film You Are Alone will not be raped by an idiot producer.”