My Life on Ice presents the unique point of view of 16-year-old Etienne, a cute would-be ice skating champion living in provincial Rouen who is obsessed with filming his daily life with a ... See full summary »
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My Life on Ice presents the unique point of view of 16-year-old Etienne, a cute would-be ice skating champion living in provincial Rouen who is obsessed with filming his daily life with a digital camera. Told from his subjective perspective, the focus of Etienne's video diary subtly takes shape as he records his single mother, his best friend Ludovic, and, almost stalker-like, his handsome male geography teacher Laurent. Though explaining his goal is to match his mother with Laurent, he gradually comes to the realization that other unconscious desires are motivating him, as hinted at in an intense discussion with Ludovic about the possibility of love between men. Written by
I take my comment to be an appendix to the "portrait by indirection" comment;one question though: isn't his geography teacher exactly like his mother's paramour?
That said, I really enjoyed the ironic clin d'oeil to the nouvelle nouvelle vague territory, when our hero Etienne kicks his best friend Ludo into assuming grins that portray "angst", "happiness", etc, as a promising actor, all in mocking succession; I would even go that far as to claim that it was intended as an irony-a-clef towards Louis Garrel's usual persona! Or the subtlety of turning cinema verite into something else.
And mostly I enjoyed the almost effortless and sudden passage of the triply difficult portrayal of what happens in the end: Etienne surely contemplates suicide when he leaves his camera at the Falaises and stands at the edge - why? Was it the humiliating instance of his 'stepfather' as he calls him, even though and because he desires him, starts to strip, then retracts his - was it an offer, albeit a subconscious one, or the usual unaffected and brutal masculine perplexity facing intimacy? We can certainly hear an edge in Etienne's voice even as he firmly, and perhaps for the first time standing for himself (and his camera), continues filming that lewd scene. Or was it remorse because of the accident?
But quicker than our questions we see a handsome new face staring into Etienne's camera, and filming him without his usual uneasiness when shot by another; a slight, unconvincing protest as he rushes to his new face because, as this, his first lover tells him, in a kind of french idiom, he will change his face after he will have made love, and as they start having fun, Etienne no longer needs his camera, nor do we. The end. After all the straining footage of his, finally, not-so-true life in Rouen, we just see something flickering past us: no more who this guy is, or what he does just to keep the empty suspense go on, but we pass to something secretive that we don't witness, his true life in Rouen! That, for me, keeps this film from turning into a trick: it remains true as a portrait where the line between what is spontaneous and what is premeditated remains blurred, as perhaps in adolescence and its seemingly eternal waiting of the real life to begin. Just where we thought real life means action, well, it just is a secret.
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