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French, American cultures collide in romantic comedy '5 to 7'

By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - French and American attitudes about food, wine, world events, and love and marriage collide in "5 to 7," a love story set in New York that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

While for Americans 5 to 7 is the typical time when bars offer discounted drinks and food, the French have a decidedly different take on happy hour.

In French, "cinq a sept," or five to seven, refers to the time of day that Frenchmen traditionally see their mistresses before heading home to dinner with their families.

Brian is the aspiring, young writer who discovers the cultural nuance and much more when he embarks on a French-style love affair with an older women in "5 to 7," the feature directorial debut by writer Victor Levin, who served as a co-executive producer of "Mad Men," the Emmy-winning drama on the AMC network.

Levin, a four-time Emmy nominee who has been writing for film and television since 1990, was a 27-year-old in Paris when he observed a marriage conducted under the 5 to 7 rules. The experience gave him the inspiration and the title for the film.

"It is the kind of thing that doesn't leave you when you see it at close range," Levin explained after the film's debut at the Tribeca festival that runs through April 27.

RULES OF THE AFFAIR

Anton Yelchin, 25, who starred in 2009's "Star Trek" and 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness," plays Brian, who falls for a beautiful, sophisticated, older French woman after meeting her outside the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.

Berenice Marlohe, best known for her role as Severin opposite Daniel Craig in the 2012 James Bond film "Skyfall," is the lover, Arielle, a mother of two and wife of a French diplomat.

A woman who loves her children and her husband, she accepts his affair as she begins her own. When she suggests to Brian that they can meet from 5 to 7, he misunderstands her meaning in the first of many cultural and traditional clashes as they embark on their unlikely love affair.

French-born actor Lambert Wilson ("Of Gods and Men" and "Catwoman") plays Arielle's husband, Valery. A worldly diplomat, Valery welcomes a very confused Brian to his home and introduces him to his young children and his own mistress, a book editor played by actress Olivia Thirlby ("Juno" and "Dredd").

Frank Langella, a best actor Oscar nominee in 2009 for "Frost/Nixon," is Brian's very traditional father, who would prefer that his son give up writing and go to law school and who struggles to accept and understand his son's love affair.

As Brian's mother, six-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs," "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Fatal Attraction") is more understanding and accepting of the liaison.

Brian falls into a comfortable pattern with regular 5 to 7 meetings at the St. Regis Hotel, and even babysits for Arielle's children, who refer to him as their mother's boyfriend -- until he breaks the rules and proposes to her.

Shot in New York, Levin uses witty dialogue to explore the couple's differences as they fall more deeply in love and realize it is more than a "5 to 7" affair.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)

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