Mathieu Amalric’s The Blue Room is an intense film about passion’s destructive machinery, which one is forced to only observe once the machine has been started. The film is based on Georges Simeon’s 1964 novel by the same title, which Amalric has named one of his favourites.
The film begins as if in the middle of the story, in the blue hotel room where the family man Julien sees his lover Esther (played by Stéphanie Cléau, the other scriptwriter of the film and Amalric’s then partner). Being in the distracted post-coital state of mind, he carelessly mumbles something to answer Esther’s question about whether he can imagine them being together forever. After that, she does not waste any time, and all Julien’s attempts to break up with her are useless. Finally, they end up in the circumstance of the frame story, where Julien, accused of a murder, does not seem to remember what actually happened.
Amalric sets up an at times Hitchcockian atmosphere: when dealing with obsessed people one needs to be careful with what one promises them or asks of them. Both hesitation and just drifting into situations can be lethal. The small-town community makes the film’s atmosphere even more claustrophobic, as the townspeople have eyes also in the back of their heads and do not miss even the slightest of the secret or imagined signs shared between the traitorous partners in crime. (Tytti Rantanen)