“The Names of Love” is a quirky and off-beat romantic comedy set in France by Michel Leclerc. In the film, Arthur Martin, whose mother is Jewish, and Baya Benmamoud, whose father is an Algerian Muslim, fall in love despite their differences in religion, politics, and world views. The film depicts the ups and downs of their relationship as they try to figure out if they really are made for each other despite all of their differences.
Inspired by early Woody Allen films, Michel Leclerc uses numerous cinematic devices including having the characters directly address the audience, having clever intercutting scenes when introducing the characters, and having the characters interact with their younger counterparts to tell his story. Mr. Leclerc mixes an off-beat, quirky comic style to address some serious issues including French politics, the Holocaust, religion, first impressions, and family dynamics. Jacques Gamblin, who plays Arthur, and Sara Forestier, who plays Baya, give sincere performances in the film.
The film was an official selection of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and opens in New York on June 24.