18 January 2012

Éric Fottorino: Baisers de cinéma (2007)

On the first page of Éric Fottorino's Baisers de cinéma ('Cinema Kisses') there is a mention of the fire that occurs at the end, and fire is a prefigurative image in a number of various guises: for instance, Gilles Hector remembers, as a child, his father Jean playfully saying 'You're red hot!' ('Tu brûles!') when he was very close to objects he'd hidden; and the narrator Gilles admits that he's playing with fire by becoming the love slave of the capricious Mayliss de Carlo. But there's twist at the end.

Baisers de cinéma is an unconventional love story, but also a detective story reminiscent of Patrick Modiano's work, where the narrator liberally punctuates the novel with references to locations in central Paris. Gilles owes his existence to a 'cinema kiss' between his cinema photographer father and his unknown mother and tries to cast light on who she was, watching numerous movies as part of this search – the nouvelle vague cinema plays an important part in the narrative. It's during one such movie visit that he meets the married Mayliss, and they become lovers, consumed by a very powerful passion.

And guess what? Yes, there are no English translations of Éric Fottorino's novels.

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