Les Jeunes amants: how Melvil Poupaud approached the sexuality of the film

In “Les Jeunes amants”, released in 2022, Pierre (Melvil Poupaud) falls in love with Shauna (Fanny Ardant), who is 25 years older than him. For this touching romantic drama, which does not ignore the theme of sexuality, Melvil Poupaud approached the intimate sequences with naturalness.

The Young Loverslove beyond convention

In The Young Lovers of Carine Tardieu, Fanny Ardant and Melvil Poupaud embody two lovers, Shauna and Pierre, passionately in love with each other. She is 71 and lives in Paris, he lives in Lyon and is 45. Both have lives, past and present. She is a widow and a grandmother, he lives with his wife and teenage daughter in Lyon. They met for the first time, fifteen years before their love story, in the hospital where Pierre works. Their reunion, almost by chance, has the clarity of the evidence. Despite everything, despite the passage of time, despite illnesses and bereavements, they are made for love.

The Young Lovers
The Young Lovers ┬ęDiaphana Distribution

On a personal story of the filmmaker Solveig Anspach, who died during the development of the film, Carine Tardieu offers a different perspective on what makes a couple, on seduction and love rid of social conventions. She thus offers Fanny Ardant a role of woman “above all”. Before being an elderly woman, a mother, she is simply a woman who desires and who is desirable.

All against her, the eternal young leader of French cinema Melvil Poupaud is under the spell, and their story in The Young Lovers intoxicates them like a first love. With modesty and sobriety, Carine Tardieu films kisses, tenderness, and a few intimate scenes which, without being explicit, show natural sexuality between these two lovers, whose story is not so banal.

Melvil Poupaud: “Sexuality is part of life”

It’s in an interview given to the Journal des femmes on the occasion of the release of the film in February 2022 that the actor of Laurence Anyways and Thanks to God opened on this love between a forty-something man and an older woman, and on his carnal aspect. For the actor, there is simply nothing more natural.

My character wants to go to the end of this sadly unusual love story. I say “sadly”, because there’s no reason it shouldn’t be trivial. Why couldn’t a woman at 70 live a love story? Why wouldn’t a younger guy fall in love with an older woman? We live in this society where we have the impression that you have to be young to love, to have sex… It’s an adulterated image.

The Young Lovers
The Young Lovers ┬ęDiaphana Distribution

If he embodies Pierre perfectly, as much in his dimension as a lover as in that of an upset father, it is because Melvil Poupaud does not back down from any obstacle and likes to confront ambiguity. He continues thus:

I realize that the stories that interest me often have less obvious subjects, with a certain ambiguity. I like that it talks a bit about sex too. I don’t mind going on the carnal side or embodying certain taboos like in Lawrence Anyways. Sexuality is part of life. I like to explore its different aspects.

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