Le péril jeune – Cédric Klapisch

Le péril jeune - Cédric Klapisch

We all are watchers, more or less, although some of us are primarily labourers. Our teenage years are mostly about defining who we’ll be, starting from being watchers. So it’s no surprise that filmmakers often make films about watchers, dramas where people watch their lives as it has passed.

I’ll admit that this was touching, slightly. A group of friend reunites in the hospital for the birth of their best friend’s baby. This has friend has died recently, and while they wait for access to the mother’s room, they reminisce about him and the years they spent together in college.

So we follow these archetypal characters as they watch themselves watching. A lot of aimlessness, naive earnestness, drugs, heartbreaks, the stuff you imagine you’ll go through in teenagehood but not always do. The same things probably take place today, with possibly just as many drugs. And there’s always a foreign student in there, and a love affair that never can be.

Film is so much about people most of the time that you can infer value simply off charm. Drama, specially this kind, is about selecting the small things of being enough to infer a larger (universal) humanity.

But I’m interested in Klapisch and how he tries to be the French Woody Allen with his narrative experiments. This is his first film, and it was made for TV. One of the only of his skills that shows here is his affinity for the archetypal. He would go on to make “L’Auberge Espagnole” which has up to 11 archetypal characters, all nuanced correctly. It’s something John Hugues could approve.

Also, Elodie Bouchez in her first role here. You only see her for a few minutes, and she says almost nothing, but it’s the start of a smile. A smile that will turn into an anchor in later movies.

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Categories: Notes

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