Rogue Cinema Review "Not a Love Story"
Pretty first-grader Zoé (Oceane Bucaille) is always prepared for school. She always has her homework done and organizes her desk perfectly. Zoé loves to learn and is ready for anything – except for her classmate Alexandre (Sasha Susini). It seem that Alexandre has a developed a crush on Zoé and he’s determined to tell the entire class about his love for her! Mortified by the youth’s attention, Zoé tries her best to ignore his proclamations. But this only causes Alexandre to declare his feelings for her all the louder. So every day brings a new embarrassment and the poor girl is at a loss for what to do about it. But Zoé’s even more horrified when she asks her parents where babies come from and they tell her that babies come after a boy tells a girl that he loves her!
“Not a Love Story” is a delightful 15 minute short film from director Rock Chang and writer Fabienne Maurer. It’s a sweet and innocent look at first time crushes and how truly awkward those can be. Alexandre only knows that he loves Zoé and he clearly doesn’t understand how much embarrassment he is causing her. To him, his love can only be an absolute good. Zoé, however, is horrified by Alexandre’s constant attention and only understands the negative connotation of the youth’s infatuation with her.
Even though this is a light and frothy comedy, director Chang successfully infuses the film with a darker undercurrent. It’s hard not to watch the antics of Alexandre and not think about how unwanted attention in adulthood can be a frightening experience and can sometimes lead to obsession and stalking.
Chang has a gift for working with children and he coaxes wonderful naturalistic performances from his cast. Oceane Bucaille is pitch perfect as Zoé and she captures the girl’s befuddlement at her situation wonderfully. Sasha Susini is a ball of energy as Alexandre. His performance really helps you understand the youth’s stubbornness and determination.
“Not a Love Story” is about unrequited love and its potential unwanted consequences. Its central theme is universally appealing and the script, direction and acting are all first-rate. This is a charming movie short that should appeal to both adults and children alike. Look for it at a film festival near you this spring and summer.
- by Philip Smolen
"Not a Love Story" Chinese Interview with Midday Buzz
"Not a Love Story" Interview with Halo Halo
Indyred Film Review "Not a Love Story"
To sum up "Not A Love Story" very quickly, one must only acknowledge that it's damn cute. There really is no denying it. I'm not claiming that this short tale, penned by Fabienne Maurer would be my first pick of films to watch; that's only because it's geared more to children however, or adults who will appreciate the subtle comedy (or not so subtle) thrown in to give them something to chuckle about. To write that "Not A Love Story" was made to entertain adults would be the same as saying that Polka Dot Door was written that way as well. What we do have is a cute, well made short film that although seemingly not made for the older generations, does have enough style and humor to make it entertaining. I did kind of miss any reference to the "Stork" however, that would have made things perfect.
Rock Chang helms the school desk and manages to pull some pretty convincing and funny performances from the young cast, all the time keeping the "cuteness" dripping from the lens of the camera. The characters are just as bright as the grading of the film itself, making it easy to keep that "knowing" smile as you watch the film. Come to think of it, everything about this production screams experience and professionalism, not really leaving me much to comment on in the technical department. About half-way into the film I began physically looking for some technical flaw to write about, and came up empty. In every respect, Rock Chang and his crew end up schooling a lot of adult indie filmmakers, with all the technical elements of this production being close to perfection. An excellent job all around.
Oceane Bucaille portrays her character perfectly, showing off the ability of a much more seasoned actress. She may not be a complete stranger to the industry, but that doesn't always translate to a good performance. She really shines in her role here, keeping us smiling as she flows across our screens. To be honest, for a production featuring mainly children, I would be hard-pressed to find any of the performances offin any way. The kids all came across as... well... cute. The adult performances were not lost on me either. With just the right glances and smirks, the adult cast kept this short film real, and I hate to keep saying it... but cute.
No denying the amount of talent involved in this small production, and although itseems like it may, from what I've written, be for children, this won't just entertain the young ones. I can't help but feel that "Not A Love Story" was meant to be geared more to adults, but with the stellar performances from the cast, and the way this film plays out, I still would rather say it's a kids film. Was it entertaining? Yes. Was it done well? Oh yeah. In the end there's really no reason for anyone to miss out on this one. Check out the trailer and keep your ears open... when you get the chance, find out for yourself what I've been writing about.