Three memories of my youth by Arnaud Desplechin (2015)
As Paul Dédalus leaves Tajikistan to return to Paris, memories of his childhood in Roubaix, of his trip to the USSR when he was a teenager and, above all, of his love for Esther, come back. Paul, whom we follow as a little boy, teenager and adult, never ceases in Three memories of my youth to remember his past, his three bodies – and the story – then becoming one.
His adventures, which oscillate from humor to tragedy, thrill the viewer, constantly brought back, by a game of mirror, to his own previous life. Rewarded at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 2015 as well as at the César the following year, Desplechin takes us through his art of dialogues and his staging, transfiguring our own memories to make it a labyrinth, between fascination and destruction.
Un amour de jeunesse by Mia Hansen-Løve (2011) and Eden (2014)
Still on the theme of torments of youth, Netflix offers two films by director Mia Hansen-Løve: Eden and Un amour de jeunesse . The second succeeds, through its delicacy and restraint, in telling a love affair, from adolescence to the edge of adulthood, all without ever falling into pompous emotional scenes. Eden , him, signs the virtuoso portrait of a DJ brought to the summit of success in the middle of the French Touch period, a musical movement which, for him, will only be fleeting.
The unknown from Alain Guiraudie’s lake (2013)
Considered a “masterpiece” by the Inrocks , L’inconnu du lac by Alain Guiraudie is an open-air camera, surrounded by love, sex and death. It is therefore impossible to miss this jewel of French auteur cinema, which, beyond its brilliant staging, explores all possible themes, registers and metaphors.
The recipe is clear and modest: “A lake, a beach, groves, parking, an R25, a few nudist men and three characters” (including Pierre Deladonchamps, wonderful). And if that still does not seem convincing to you, here is the trailer below.
The life of Adèle by Abdellatif Kechiche (2013)
Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival in 2013, La vie d’Adèle , adapted from the comic strip Blue is a warm color by Julie Maroh. At 15, Adèle is a serious student who questions her sexuality when she first meets the eyes of Emma, a mysterious young woman with blue hair. A great work of the seventh art, bringing to life the idea that literature can lead to self-acceptance, La Vie d’Adèle , a sensual film which borrows all the codes of the learning novel, is part of it ( despite the controversies surrounding its shooting ) of the most beautiful films of French author cinema of the decade.
Marguerite and Julien de Valérie Donzelli (2015)
With this film presented in official competition at the Cannes Festival in 2015, Valérie Donzelli explores the theme of love prohibited by social standards or “nature”. A young woman (Anaïs Demoustier) and her brother (Jérémie Elkaïm), love each other irresistibly from the cradle. Growing up, this love turns into a burning passion, but, forced to smother their incestuous fire in the face of the pressure of society, the couple flees.
The director then launches this couple with the false airs of Bonnie and Clyde in a rhythm of run, her marital drama then taking the form of action film. After War is declared and Main dans La Main , Valérie Donzelli continues, with Marguerite and Julien , to observe the mechanisms of the sentimental frenzy with great singularity.
Bang Gang of Eva Husson (2016)
If we usually owe the genre of “teen-movie” to American cinema, with Bang Gang, Eva Husson proves to us that such achievements can also exist in France with this film which releases a wild, elegant and sensual energy. For the pitch (which the title does not sum up completely), head to the well-to-do suburbs of the Basque Country, where George, a pretty 16-year-old blonde, falls in love with Alex, a Don Juan. In order to get his attention, George launches a collective challenge during which his group of friends will discover and push the limits of his sexuality. Between gangs, parties and disillusions, Bang Gang is a beautifully photographed choreography of bodies. To have !
Danielle Arbid’s Fear of Nothing (2016)
For her third feature film, Danielle Arbid reinvests the autobiographical genre by dealing with the years of adolescence. We follow Lina, a beautiful 18-year-old Beirut, who arrives in the French capital to study. Fluttering to the rhythm of Paris in the 90s, Lina discovers freedom, sex and nocturnal madness, but also racial disparities.
The interest of the film also lies in its main actress, Manal Issa, who, by his fierce interpretation, gives a boost of freshness and youth to French cinema. An intimate epic, between the euphoria of Mia Hansen-Løve’s cinema and the memories of Desplechin, Fear of nothing is worth its detour on Netflix.
Nocturama by Bertrand Bonello (2016)
To get away from the love pattern a bit, head for Nocturama , the drama-thriller by Bertrand Bonello. This elegiac tale opens with many mysteries, which will not necessarily be solved. A group of young people gather to lay bombs in the Samaritaine, in Paris. From the moment the department store closes, the night begins, and history carries us away. While addressing hot topics of our contemporary society, the filmmaker delivers a portrait of a lost youth, carried by a brand new cast (we find Finnegan Oldfield, already on the bill of Bang Gang , and Manal Issa, quoted above- above). A film with an impressive aesthetic, to be discovered urgently.
Tristesse Club by Vincent Mariette (2014)
With this film that is both funny and sensitive, bordering on seventies comedy, director Vincent Mariette exploits the buddy-movie. Tristesse Club is a mix between the comic poetry of Pierre Richard and the brilliance of Bertrand Blier. It is also a casting of the great opposites, with Laurent Lafitte and Vincent Macaigne as enemy brothers who, when their father disappears, will be forced to team up to find him.
Very sensitive, Tristesse Club also finds its breath thanks to its trio of characters (we also count Ludivine Sagnier), its volatile rhythm and its dialogues anything but formatted – all sprinkled with good gags. Watching this film on Netflix is enjoying a new French humor, still too little exploited by the platform.