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Eighteen-year-old Mathieu is vacationing at the beach with his family when he meets local teen Cédric. After an extremely erotic kiss, the boys begin a passionate romance, complete with skinny-dipping at night, nude dancing on the beach and intense lovemaking in the dunes. Yet as Mathieu grapples with his sexuality and copes with his sick mother, absent father and annoying kid sister his bond with Cédric grows stronger until it bursts. Written by
Stephane Rideau was already a star for his tour de force in "Wild Reeds," and he is one of France's biggest indie stars. In this film, he plays Cedric, a local boy who meets vacationing Mathieu (newcomer Jamie Elkaim, in a stunning, nuanced, ethereal performance) at the beach. Mathieu has a complex relationship with his ill mother, demanding aunt and sister (with whom he has a competitive relationship). Soon, the two are falling in love.
The film's fractured narrative -- which is comprised of lengthy flash-backs, bits and pieces of the present, and real-time forward-movement into the future -- is a little daunting. Director Sebastien Lifshitz doesn't signal which time-period we are in, and the story line can be difficult to follow. But stick it out: The film's final 45 minutes are so engrossing that you won't be able to take your eyes off the screen. By turns heart-breaking and uplifting, this film ranks with "Beautiful Thing" as must-see cinema.
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