Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)
Intoxicating but flawed debut from French writer-director Eva Husson
Eva Husson’s Biarritz-based drama skilfully evokes the sweaty ambience of carefree days spent idling in the sunshine, its amorous antics set to a pumping electro score from Morgan Kibby (aka White Sea). It’s a steamy debut that recalls the dreaminess and restlessness of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides in the way it captures teen spirit, yet Husson doesn’t allow room for her many characters to breathe, which in turn makes their heady passage a tad underwhelming by its conclusion.
When school-friends George (Marilyn Lima) and Laetitia (Daisy Broom) hook up with two boys – one of whom, Alex (Finnegan Oldfield), is living in a large country house without parental supervision – they spark up a mini sexual revolution that sees the local teenagers come together for orgies over the stiflingly hot summer months. Meanwhile the shy Gabriel (Lorenzo Lefèbvre) is struggling to deal with caring for his recently paralysed father (Manuel Husson) and finds his own release in angry dance parties.
The bold young cast are all on fire in this contemporary portrait of the teenage experience, with Lima and Oldfield turning in particularly affecting performances. There’s a poignancy to the developing relationship between Gabriel and George, but this also presents problems, as we see him become something of a hero to her, a dynamic out of sorts with its modern setting.
Writer-director Husson keeps coming back to the fact that the teenagers can only temporarily mute the noise of the world around them. In the background the TV blares out news filled with tragedy and atrocities and they try to shut it all out by flicking through Facebook and sharing their sexual endeavours. However, the tendrils of reality slowly creep in via STDs and the hurtful breaking of trust between friends. This lust-fuelled tale of youthful escapism is intoxicating in the moment yet, like a sweet summer romance, the further you distance yourself from it the more you begin to realise its faults.
Selected release from Fri 17 Jun.