"Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge..." Portrait d'une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles (TV Episode 1994) Poster

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quiet and interesting
claudecat21 March 2004
Like many French-language films I've seen, this one is more concerned with presenting a fairly realistic slice of life than with creating the standard story arc. The main character, Michele, spends the hour discussing her views of life with some old and new friends, and tries to understand her own feelings about her place in the world and her sexuality, while a camera follows along at close range. If you like your stories action-packed and resolved at the end you won't care for this one, but as a "portrait of a young girl" this film is engaging and thought-provoking. The movie reminded me of some of my own teenage trials, in a bittersweet way. The film is not so good at authentically recreating the 60's, but hey, it was probably low-budget. Anyway, the setting doesn't seem that important, as the kids' thoughts are pretty universal. Includes songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Hallyday, and James Brown.
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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl
Chantal Akerman's career has been one of great variety, yet it's amazing to consider the fact that she started her career with some of her finest films made before she was 25 years old (JE TU IL ELLE and JEANNE DIELMAN). A true prodigy, she continues to work, and no matter what the form (she has made long films, short films, media installations, comedies, dramas, musicals), she remains a true master of her craft.

That said, her contribution to the series "Boys and Girls in Their Time", PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG GIRL AT THE END OF THE 60s IN BRUSSELS is one of her tightest and most suggestive works. At a little less than an hour, she captures the frustrations, the inchoate desires, and the yearnings of a teenage girl, seemingly adrift, but actually surveying her options and trying to develop her sense of self. This might seem like a slight work, yet it develops with such an assured touch that the slightest shifts seem monumental. This is, visually, a gentle and lovely work, with a bright yet harmonious palette, and some lyrical scenes which help to entrance the viewer. In its small-scale form, this is one of Akerman's most emotionally acute films, and it's one of the finest coming-of-age films about women that i've ever seen.
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