Glasgow Film Festival: Mia Hansen-Løve's heady take on the French house scene
Mia Hansen-Løve has created an insightful and involving cinematic experience with her fourth feature, which centres on the rise and fall of a French house DJ from the 1990s to the 2000s. It’s a heady trip into the electronic dance music scene that propelled to stardom the likes of Air, Cassius and Daft Punk (who appear throughout the film in humorous cameos).
Hansen-Løve has collaborated with her brother Sven on the screenplay and she delivers a perceptively lensed journey (cinematography by Denis Lenoir) that takes in the highs of blissed-out club nights and the lows of come-downs. Sven’s memories of his time as a DJ struggling to achieve his dream add layers of credibility and honesty; he's both nostalgic for times past and critical of his generation and their refusal to grow up, adapt and take responsibility for their actions.
Félix de Givry turns in an excellent performance as the ambitious and talented Paul Vallée whose love of music leads him to make some bad life choices. His emotions are mirrored in Hansen-Løve’s commanding and euphoric club scenes, which eventually morph into desperately sad reminders of the good times as the film progresses. Vallée, who is forever in debt to his mother, possesses an arrogant and obsessive attitude which makes it difficult for him to admit defeat, and his small taste of success only fuels his ego and desire.
The dynamic between Vallée and his group of friends is skilfully handled by Hansen-Løve, who presents a bubbling hub of engaging personalities and discussions. However, she does struggle early on with an amorous fling and proves far better at dealing with the conflict and drama that makes up the film's latter half. This beautifully observed slice of life glides effortlessly through the years, providing wonderful snapshots of an era of partying and youthful misdeeds. Eden is celebratory, cautionary and entirely intoxicating.
Screening on Sat 28 Feb and Sun 1 Mar as part of the Glasgow Film Festival 2015. General release from Fri 24 Jul.