Courtesy of Music Box Films
In “The Names of Love,” being released in the U.S. June 24, 24-year-old actress Sara Forestier plays Baya, a free-spirited idealist who literally enacts the 1960s slogan, “Make love, not war.” She is passionate to a fault in supporting the French left, lending her attractive body to the cause by converting right-wingers with sex rather than argumentation. For her performance — in at least one sequence she is hilarious in her nakedness — Forestier won a César, the French equivalent of an Oscar.
In keeping with its French title, “Le nom de gens” (“The name of people”), the names of the major characters matter. Baya’s family name is Arabic (Benmahmoud), whereas the male lead (played by Jacques Gamblin) bears the white-bread French moniker Arthur Martin.