Published on The Independent (http://www.aivf.org)

Overcoming Overemotion One Chocolate at a Time

By cristina
Created 09/08/2011 - 00:00

No doubt that Romantics Anonymous is a very personal film for director Jean-Pierre Améris. He knows all too well the affliction that his film’s protagonists confront: social anxiety. The unlikely romantic comedy pairs two extraordinarily shy and, yes, emotional people. One is a gifted chocolate-maker (Isabelle Carré) who is terrified of displaying her talent, the other is her boss (Benoît Poelvoorde), who so happens to run a chocolate factory.

Romantics Anonymous certainly hit a nerve with filmgoers during the Tribeca Film Festival [1], where it had its US premiere earlier this year, and in France, where the film is a box office hit (over $9 million). Variety [2] that said that it had good remake potential. So, I thought: 'OK, I am not alone.' What would you think about something like that?

JA: Yeah, actually there is a lot of influence from my love for American comedies. Maybe you could make an American remake with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. They are my favorite actors.

KB: Would you direct?

JA: No. I don’t think so. [laughs]

KB: Why did you base it around chocolate?

JA: When I was doing the Emotions Anonymous groups, I met a lot of people who in real life were teachers or bank managers or shopkeepers. They were people in jobs where you need to interact with the public. So they came to the groups and talked about how difficult that was. I knew that in my movie I wanted to have this poetic, very childlike universe that was sort of out of this world. I didn’t want to set it in a school or in a factory.

Then the scriptwriter, one day, came up with the idea: What if she was a chocolate-maker and worked in the chocolate industry. I thought that was great because it would allow us to have the sort of old fashioned, childlike vibe that we were looking for. It also fit the subject really well. Chocolate is an anti-depressant and a lot people eat it compulsively when they are nervous and it is very sensual. It also quickly became a metaphor of what cinema is for me. So [that's] what chocolate is for Angelique: A way to overcome fears.

KB: How do you envision two or three years from now after the film has ended, what is their life like?

JA: They are going to make chocolate together and are going to be very happy. Just as a joke from time to time, I tell people that I feel sorry for their kids.

KB: What is your favorite chocolate?

JA: I love many kinds, but dark chocolate is the best.

Search your zip code and cable provider here [3] to see if and when Romantics Anonymous is available in your area.

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