It would be difficult to describe Whenever I'm Alone With You, a unique and inspired French independent film reminiscent in style and narrative of the French New Wave. It's simple, I suppose, but it's actually not as anyone who's ever watched French New Wave would know.
Written and directed by co-stars Guillaume Campanacci and Vesper Egon (Critic's Note: The single greatest name ever. If I ever have a child, they will be named Vesper Egon), Whenever I'm Alone With You introduces us to two people - Guillaume (Campanacci) has just tried to kill himself and is now roaming around drunk and disnterested while, alternately, Vedrana (Egon) is a passionate soul stuck in a relationship "so boring she should be pronounced dead."
Eyes meet. Hearts know. Sparks begin to fly.
Of course, there will be one problem when Guillaume's former fiancée shows up at his door. Pregnant.
Whenever I'm Alone With You is a dazzler, a full-on sensory experience for heart, mind, body, and soul. It's a romantic comedy that isn't a romantic comedy and a narratively cohesive story that dances around for the sake of the dance. Language is important here, for sure, but what's really important is the cinematic tapestry that unfolds and the beauty of this mighty fine ensemble.
Whenever I'm Alone With You had its world premiere at the Oldenburg International Film Festival and has already picked up several awards early in what should no doubt be a very successful festival run with already 11 festivals and 14 awards.
It should not be surprising that Whenever I'm Alone With You is a beautiful film to behold, Nicolas Devienne's lensing captures the majesty of the South of France and the wonder and power of a glance that we know is everything that love can be. This style of filmmaking seems rare these days, confident and bold and passionate and knowing. It's an immersive experience that doesn't so much demand surrender as it benefits from it.
Campanacci is a joy to watch, rich in his humanity but a beautiful soul unknowing even as Egon's Vedrana works to stylishly seduce him into love. So, too, Egon is a stunner here with a charisma that draws you in and refuses to let you go until she's done.
Together, they are wondrous.
Whenever I'm Alone With You is romantic and funny, impulsive and disobedient in all the best ways. There are no rules in life. There are no rules in love. There are no rules in filmmaking. Whenever I'm Alone With You. There are no rules. And that's the wonder of it all.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic