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One of the most exquisite films about loss of innocence
This film starts from a wonderful concept. The psychological situation
represented in Goethe's famous story is transplanted into adolescents
in modern Paris. The structuring event (the suicide of Ismael's best
friend) has already taken place when the film begins, and Doillon and
his young actors do a magnificent job of convincing us of the trauma
that this creates. What makes the film to totally memorable is the way
that it seamlessly moves from a mystery story into an unforgettable
examination of the vulnerability of young emotions. As Ismael and his
classmates jump to conclusions and then discover the enigmatic Miren,
we are dragged into their world and their sensibility. I have always
(at least from 'La Drolesse' until the disaster of 'Les Petites
Freres') believed that Doillon was the only truly great French director
of his generation. But this great little masterpiece seems to even take
him to a higher level. This is one of the very few films that
demonstrates that the greatest pain in life comes from falling in love
with the inaccessible. Thank you, Jacques.
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