The Names of Love at Bethesda Row Cinema Sunday, August 21

“I can do great things with my ass,” claims the young activist Baya in The Names of Love. She is, you see, a “political whore,” a leftist who sleeps with members of the opposition in order to convert them to her beliefs. Flighty yet fierce in her convictions—and looking like a brunette Heather Graham—Baya (Sara Forestier) easily wins over Arthur (Jacques Gamblin), a conservative veterinarian who’s somewhat put off by her looseness but too enchanted to leave things as a one-night stand. Their ensuing relationship is rocky for them (Baya continues to sleep with other men, and their political debates get nasty) but delightful for the viewer, with director and co-writer Michel Leclerc packing his film with rapid-fire dialogue that’s both funny and intelligent. Sometimes exchanges get a little too quick, but Baya’s sensuality, smarts, and attraction to Arthur are never in doubt. Forestier’s performance sparkles, and even though she literally bares all, the actress leaves you wanting more.

The film shows all week at Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda. $11.

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