Friday, September 25, 2015
Directed By: Mia Hansen-Love
Written By: Mia Hansen-Love & Sven Hansen-Love
Cinematography By: Denis Lenoir
Editor: Marion Monnier
Cast: Felix De Grivy, Pauline Etienne, Zita Hanrot, Arsinee Khanjian, Lea Rougeron, Golshifteh Farahani, Greta Gerwig, Brady Corbet,
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
Loosely based on the life of the director's brother, Sven Hansen-Løve
Paul, a teenager in the underground scene of early-nineties Paris, forms a DJ collective with his friends and together they plunge into the nightlife of sex, drugs, and endless music.
Really wanted to love this film, but it is disappointing in a manner. Never as intense as the music it displays.
Some of the films passages are beautiful as visuals and music synch to really set a tone and make you feel like you are witnessing perfect moments. Just as most of the cast are so good looking.
The cinematography is almost fluid, you never notice it and it flows. Making it seem artful composed yet youthful and energetic, Without shaky cam. Which I notice more and more youthful foreign films are doing. As just like this one they are full of energy and shorter on story.
The film is pretty, though it shows the stakes the sex, alcohol, drugs, money and the work that has to be put in to keep your career going. Even when creativity fails you or it might just seem more like a job out of habit then the passion you once had for it. Add to that it seems like you keep the hours of a vampire. And the money it takes that sometimes you end up losing more than earning. Just to put on a show.
We see the lead characters romances and relationships. Though everything we need to know seems to be told more in the background and also in passing. Maybe as in that way just as in Life when we look back in things we realize how important they are. Yet at the time they just seem to be something everyday that is happening. The film seeks to really have you figure it out for yourself.
The film eventually wears out it's welcome as it is too long. I realize as a biography it wants to stay true to it's source and it's details as even the slightest might lead back to another important part, but after awhile you wonder what's the point and where is this going. I know it is supposed to be notification and development so that might be a reason why it seems to include. Most. Yet will then all of a sudden skip ahead in time by year's. As it even feels longer than it actually is. Looking at the time you think we are only at this place in this story and once it is over you are shocked at how time has passed as it feels longer then it's two hour and fourteen minute running time.
Which is why I like to think of the film as a domestic epic. It goes international far and wide. Yet feels like it is mostly in the same place. Which is why as he characters get older since they seem to stay in the same places it is harder for them to notice as their focus and passion leaves it all to be timeless for them while the world revolves.
As a kind of biography the film works as a memory or chronicle of the lead Paul's professional career as a DJ as we see where his passion and inspiration begins then follow as he actually becomes a professional and the trials a tribulations over the years of his career and journey. That intermix with they of the dance music duo DAFT PUNK. Who are friends in his life who reappear once in awhile. And each time seem to be heading to bigger and better things.
Maybe that is the purpose of the film. Sure we get deep into the details of the DJ's life but as we never make a connection with him. He is our protagonist but feels like almost ambivalent to a degree. Just as when you go to a party the DJ will communicate with you. Controls your entertainment and fun. Gets you moving so that you feel a connection with him. Similar to how you feel a connection with a musician in a band from the music and what it means to you. But you still don't really know them they are a friendly mystery to you. More aquaintance then actual friend.
As it seems not to try to define anything. It makes the film feel unfocused except for the lead character at times. It never tries to connect you emotionally. At least not thoroughly to anyone. Though biographical it feels like it is in search for something else some kind of meaning and story that it never finds the answers to. Then again maybe it does but wants to keep the focus on the journey and let us know once it and he has moved on. That is the real treasure as we see at a certain point how much he misses it and how much it can be like an addiction. That is no good for him anymore.
It doesn't help that the leads of the film seem to never age or seem to keep a similar look throughout. Except it seems for the DJ's, on and off again girlfriend. Who manages to maintain different appearances that help drown the time period so much so that at first I didn't even recognize her.
The few American actors in the film seem more like cameos and only there to help the film go international and have a reason to make those scenes more dramatic.
What also doesn't help is that for a film and subject that is supposed to be so personal. Like Oliver assays film SOMETHING IN THE AIR. it comes across more like an overview. Things happen, but we are rarely if ever emotionally pulled in. We see and follow the characters but are never made to really care about them. We are following them even though it's more like they are bringing us along.
The film also strangely has some strong homophobic language. Especially for a film that explores a culture and movement that is frequented, supported and has many fans in the gay community. The film is not a politicos movie so it isn't a big subject or point in the film. Maybe it is just trying to be real and show that not all the characters or who they come into contact with are as enlightened.
Through it All we see development of relationships and the characters. Though by the end we have come through this journey and are offered no real explanation or meaning as the film for the most part just ends. It at least lets us know where the characters are at. Then it's over with no promises. Not even like a song where you are in the middle of a groove and ending with more to come another time.