Simon has only ever been interested in boys. He turned his back on his family, duty and everything to do with Jewish tradition a long time ago. Rosalie was raised in a New York Hassidic Jewish family. Now she gives concert performances on the French Jewish cultural circuit, singing songs in Yiddish in her gorgeous soprano voice. When she sees Simon for the first time, she falls in love — with his clarinet. Simon plays it like a virtuoso. Rosalie knows nothing about his sexual preferences. She figures that anyone who can make her toes curl like that must be an inspired being. Despite their differences, their paths are destined to cross. With imposture on the one hand and misjudgment on the other, any marriage between them can surely only lead to disaster. And yet... Even if their true selves can’t change, little by little their lives will be transformed forever.
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As soon as I read it, I felt strong affinities between myself and the character of Simon, the way he’s out of kilter with the world. I saw him as a gentle, funny,
touching, manipulative person on the borderline of a normality that I don’t feel I fit into either, for different reasons than his. I was also attracted by the theme of the impostor whose imposture runs away with him, to the point where he loses track of his own desires. Also, for the first time that I can remember, here I was being offered a real character part to get to grips with, a part that was close to me for the reasons I’ve explained, yet at the same time a world apart. I’m a more or less lapsed Catholic, heterosexual, I hope not too corny, and all I knew about clarinets was the theme tune for a chronic sixties game show. So it was a real acting challenge of the kind I’d been looking for for ages. (Antoine de Caunes)