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A second-class horror movie has to be shown at Cannes Film Festival, but, before each screening, the projectionist is killed by a mysterious fellow, with hammer and sickle, just as it happens in the film to be shown.
Ten years after their Upper Sixth, Bruno, Momo, Leon and Alain meet together in the waiting room of a maternity hospital. The father of the awaited baby is Tomasi, their best friend at that time, who died one month before due to an overdose. They remember their teenage, their laughs, their dreams, their stupid pranks... Through the pasts of the five main characters, a description of the French youth in the middle of the seventies. Written by
Cinemoi, the satellite French movie channel has been having a number of director Cedric Klapisch films showing on it recently; as well as this, Le Peril Jeune, his later 'Pot Luck' and 'Russian Dolls'.
I'd never come across or heard of Klapisch before this spate and it's immediately obvious that he's very comfortable around and capable making and directing young people. There's a naturalness that comes across supremely easily; he is never patronising to either his audience or his actors and he's keen to show all aspects, from the good and happy to really quite dark and bad.
Klapisch regular lead man, Romain Duris here plays Tomasi, whose friends gather as their pregnant friend Sophie's about to go into labour at the Paris maternity unit. Minus Tomasi, though as we're already told that he died just one month prior from an overdose and as they wait, they look back over and reminisce all the years when they met at school.
We're talking about the 1970s and so all the fashions and music are here. Klapisch always seems to include sex scenes and here we get quite trippy drug-taking, too. All five of our characters were active in some rebellious pursuit or another and in the days of political activism, we see them fight for their causes. There's all the excitable antics of youth; showing off, exploring the opposite sex and much else, including living in a communal squat.
Despite this film being almost unknown - look at the number of reviews here and on IMDb - this is a very well made and satisfying film, with a sparkling script. It doesn't take itself too seriously and you can just watch it as it is, without pretence or need of justification. Unlike some French drama, that can be 'charming' there's no room for whimsy here. And, not too exaggerated like many US youth films but believable and thus, satisfying. And because it's another culture to our own, endlessly fascinating, too.
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