Sixteen-year old Junie changes high school mid-year, following the death of her mother. She finds herself in the same class as her cousin Mathias, who introduces her to his friends. All the... See full summary »
Anna has just left Paul who, annihilated by the separation, moves back with his father in Paris. His younger brother Jonathan, a casual student, still lives in his father's apartment and ... See full summary »
1968 and 1969 in Paris: during and after the student and trade union revolt. François is 20, a poet, dodging military service. He takes to the barricades, but won't throw a Molotov cocktail... See full summary »
Joaquin (Polo Ravales), an unassuming fisherman, is forced to confront his homosexuality when his sex-starved wife Cynthia (Althea Vega) returns from her overseas job eager to get pregnant.... See full summary »
Bo is a transexual prostitute in Brussels who left home after being abused by her father. She's now in an abusive relationship with a neighbor and suspected by the police in a series of ... See full summary »
Fernando, a.k.a. Fernanda, a 19-year-old Brazilian transgender woman, travels to Milan and becomes a prostitute to finance sex-change surgery. Fernanda dreams of becoming a "real" woman, ... See full summary »
Ingrid de Souza,
Lonely teenager Marc is secretly in love with Olaf, the cool boy-next-door. He dreams about a relationship with him, and when the two go camping, this dream seems to become reality for Marc... See full summary »
Sarah and Pascal are young lovers who have a problem of living with their love story, hiding it from their family. They chose to love each other despite of the difference but their dramatic... See full summary »
Felix is secretly in love with Ralph. This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem. But Felix is 15 and Ralph his 34 years old soccer coach. They meet every day in an ambush. One day Felix ... See full summary »
Ever since she broke up with Nigel, Lena soldiers on through life as best she can with her two kids. She valiantly overcomes the obstacles put in her way. But she has yet to confront the ... See full summary »
Julie's boyfriend Ismaël lives with her; rather than worry about the time he spends with his colleague Alice, Julie invites Alice to join them. The three walk the streets of Paris, party, read, and sleep together. Sometimes it's lighthearted, sometimes there are jealousies. Then death strikes. In various ways, those left come to terms with the departure and absence of a loved one: showing concern, eating together, attempting new relationships, trying to "be there" for the other. Then, the spirit returns and new commitments are possible. The romantic elements of musical comedy play in contrast to the ambivalence of the lyrics and the story. Written by
In my part of the USA, it is rare to come across a film like this. It makes no attempt to compromise its Parisian point of view for American audiences. This film allows an American audience the chance to get a glimpse from the perspective of the contemporary French young adult. There are plenty of French geographic and political reference to confuse, but they, like the Parisian scenes, just give the film its identity.
Others have provided detailed synopses of the story. I would rather you just take it as it comes and enjoy how different the plot development is. As a matter of fact, watch this film and try to appreciate how different it is from the ordinary American fare no simple boy meets girl romance here. These beautiful people aren't young, chic urbanites wearing designer clothes they can't afford, living in apartments featured in Architectural Digest. We have three young women (Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme, and Chiara Mastroianni) who lack the assistance of a personal shopper or a Beverly Hills stylist, but do not lack beauty or sensuality. Also, as a 59 year old man, I have to mention Brigitte Roüan, who shows how attractive a French grandmother can be. The men are similarly attractive. Louis Garrel demonstrates why he is currently the hottest actor in France. Newcomer Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet is disarmingly charming.
But this is a musical. You will find no potential American Idols here. The actors are not going to dazzle you with vocal gymnastics. The numbers have no clever arrangements or over produced orchestration. You have evocative lyrics set to a score reminiscent of US folk music in the 1960s or more exactly, French coffee houses. One word of caution, the English subtitles are quite misleading at times. My college French is a little rusty, but a review of the French subtitles gave me an appreciation of how descriptive the lyrics are.
Finally, there is no gratuitous violence or nudity, but look for the number Ma Memoire Sale (My Soiled Memory), where Ismael begs to be cleansed of the painful memory of his lost love. Some may be shocked at the scene, but you can't deny the passion and pain that permeates the number.
I have downloaded the soundtrack and ordered the DVD for this is like a good French dish, an experience to linger over.
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