For Lovers Only is an Indie Film loosely based on ‘Un Home et Une Femme’ by Claude Lelouche. Written by Mark Polish (also the lead actor) and directed by his brother Michael, it is the Polish Brothers’ homage to the 1960s French new wave films. The creators traveled around France, explored and experimented on creative filming, and just made the movie.
The entire film was shot in less than two weeks with a limited number of crew and an almost zero budget. It is interesting to note that the actors, Stana Katic and Mark Polish interviewed each other to further develop and internalize their characters. Each one chose 13 songs that would describe their character’s love for the other.
FOR LOVERS ONLY is a story of a MAN and a WOMAN in love. After seeing each other for the first time in years while on separate work assignments in Paris, the LOVERS flee together and travel by train, car and motorcycle, as their love affair takes them across France-from Normandy to St. Tropez. Throughout their trip, both characters experience long periods of carefree bliss and unrepentant joy punctuated by brief moments of guilt and confusion. The final outcome of the affair is left open to interpretation. (Movie Promotion, Wikipedia)
I came across this film because of Stana, and whose portrayal was the only initial motivation I had for watching this. In my first viewing, my moral sirens blew and blocked me from grasping the story it was trying to tell. I was blind to any creative aspect of the film. The love scenes – plenty of them, didn’t sit well with me. I especially did not want to see Stana making out with someone other than Nathan Fillion a.k.a. Rick Castle! In short, I never got to the end of the story.
Among Stana’s fans, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am the last one to have seen this movie. I have a rather wholesome image of her and I want to keep it at that. But I know that is just impossible. The woman is an actress and is really good at what she does. And for me to put her in a box would mean limiting her creativity. It wouldn’t be fair to pass judgment solely by the body parts exposed in one particular film.If you have no idea who she is, let me simply say that she is a woman of remarkable character. Besides being notably talented, Stana is passionate about her craft, gives 100% of herself into whatever she believes in doing, and never ceases to explore her potentials. Her vivacious tenacity and free-spirited disposition are prominent distinctions through all her works. And that is only referring to her as an artist. There is a whole lot more to say about her as a person. But let’s not get into that here and now.
So I decided to view the film again, this time making a conscious effort to free myself from all preconditions that have blocked my sense of artistic appreciation. Unexpectedly, I fell in love with the story, the characters, the emotion, the music, the places, the creative randomness in filming – practically in everything! I was simply blown away!
For Lovers Only is probably one of the best romantic films I have ever seen. It successfully paints a classic poignant portrait of love. It is a sensual, intimate and emotional journey of Sofia and Yves’ love affair. Despite its very basic and simple storyline, the movie bespeaks an honest and realistic portrayal of love’s ecstatic joys and aching sorrows. Stana delivered a truly confident and convincing characterization of Sofia. How she seizes the audience and takes them on a ride with her character is effortless and flawless. How she conveys intense emotions with the tiniest bit of movement and the slightest facial expression and sound is just beyond imagination. The sex scene shown in the early part of the film was the final straw that brought my first viewing to an abrupt halt. It seemed so genuine it almost felt like she wasn’t acting at all! Now, looking back, it feels strange that the reason for my initial aversion was the very same one that had me converted – Stana’s ridiculously superb acting authenticity!
The scene at the chapel was THE SCENE – that particular point in the movie that took hold of me completely. It is one of those scenes in which silence was like a powerful force that engulfed the viewer . That silence, and not words, was a deafening echo of the character’s painful struggle of confusion and guilt. It was a moving depiction of human frailty in desperate plea for divine intervention. The subtle build-up of those emotions intensified as the film rolled down to the part that showed the couple dancing to John Lennon’s ambient song “Love.” I was simply moved to tears. There are no words for that scene. You simply feel it. It depicts an unmistakable quiet joy at having found love that was real and being wrapped in the arms of the one that dearly held your heart. But at the same time, it evokes a disconsolate lamentation for a love lost, found and will be lost again. How cruel life can be!
I am usually not a fan of open-ended finales, but this is among the exceptions. I actually liked that the creators left it free for the audience to fill in the missing part – to speculate on the character’s probable course of action and its outcome. I liked the idea that it provided the audience room to give it their own version of how Sofia and Yves’ love affair will evolve.
Stana has definitely earned my utmost respect for her craft . This movie, along with her other projects, are like pieces of art on a collector ‘s mural. I know now that whatever she decides on working, even if I may have a certain reservation at times, it will be something beyond praise-worthy — a salute to true artistry.