in praise of adultery

Hanif Kureishi in The Guardian:

Hanif-Kureishi-010Marriage as a problem, and as a solution, has always been the central subject for drama, the novel and the cinema, just as it has been at the centre of our lives. Most of us have come from a marriage, and, probably, a divorce, of some sort. And the kind of questions that surround lengthy relationships – what is it to live with another person for a long time? What do we expect? What do we need? What do we want? What is the relation between safety and excitement, for each of us? – are the most important of our lives. Marriage brings together the most serious things: sex, love, children, betrayal, boredom, frustration, and property. Le Week-End is a film set in contemporary Paris that I developed alongside the director Roger Michell, with whom I've worked on a TV series, The Buddha of Suburbia, and two films, The Mother and Venus. The films were mostly concerned with a subject we believed was neglected in the cinema, the lives and passions of older people, whose anxieties and desires, we found, were as intense, if not more significant, than those of the young. Le Week-End concerns a late middle-aged couple, Nick and Meg, both teachers, who go to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. While there, they discuss the meaning and direction of their marriage now that their children have left home. Time and health are running out for them as they consider their impending old age and wonder what sort of future they might want, either together or apart. They think about how they might die; but this couple also need to talk about how they have lived: the way in which they have brought up their children, and how the family has worked, where it failed, and where there is regret, bitterness and even fury.

…Nick and Meg go to Paris because love is the most considerable business of all, and they need to know what sort of relationships make life worth living, and, if they have a future together, what it might be like. Do they suffer less together than they would apart? The decision they make at the end of the film can only be provisional, and the questions they ask have to be confronted repeatedly, since there isn't one answer that can satisfy them.

More here.