Writer/director Christophe Honoré makes obvious and in some ways contrived allusions to his French director forefathers--most specifically Jacques Demy, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut--throughout Love Songs, his fifth feature, but such cheeky awareness remarkably doesn't wear thin. Ismaël (Louis Garrel) and his girlfriend, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), have already brought Alice (Clotilde Hesme) into their relationship at the movie's start, and the ménage is already fraying every seam of the relationship. So Ismaël surprises Julie at a movie, and when she's still a little mad at him, he bursts into a randy pop song about how much he loves and hates her. It's an artificially flamboyant moment that Honoré treats matter-of-factly, and such interesting choices run throughout Love Songs, a very Godard-like love essay that straddles Truffaut's romanticism and Demy's bittersweet fatalism. It's a precarious balance that Honoré maintains by not taking a sweet course, as what starts out as a romance soon turns into a tragedy, and the movie morphs into looking at how people try--or avoid or fail--to deal with death. An uneven but inspired movie.