You are a boy, or a very young man. You leave your family, or your family leaves you. Or family is suddenly a word without a precise meaning. This is something one has to experience: being confronted to a world unknown. Reality fades away in the face of the unfamiliar. The unknown can be one of restless wandering, of becoming a runaway, of meeting strange creatures, of living dreams or nightmares. The unknown can also be a social reality that one struggles to understand, handle, or simply feel part of.
Are these mere “coming of age” stories? It is not so simple, and this is why our guide will be Gus Van Sant, a daring explorer of inner borderlines and collective tragedies.
In Private Property, young Belgian author Joachim Lafosse tales a story of 2 brothers faced with the brutal decisions of their mother and the collapse of their childhood world. In Lan Yü, Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan confronts his young male character with a passion for an older man who he cannot come to terms with it. Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) thought that he was a grown-up until he had to deal with his mothers’ illness and a long hidden family history. Human Resources by Golden Palm winner Laurent Cantet (The Class) tells of the trials and tribulations of a young man on his first job, faced with the reality of management and the danger of betraying both his principles and his entourage. Cam Archer creates images for the dreams and visions of his 13-year old hero coping with his newfound sexuality and love for the most beautiful kid in school. And Fredi Murer’s young Vitus is “different”: he has an artistic gift. Can pressure (from the adults and from society) be relieved so that he can choose his own life?
Brothers of Antoine (The 400 Blows) of Kitano’s Kikujiro and of Pip (Great Expectations), all these characters ask themselves and the viewer: “where am I?” Because maybe it’s all about the terrible necessity to find a place in the world, or to refuse it. “Tell them who you are”, says Mark Wexler’s mother to his son: her reasons may be bad, the question is right.
- Marie-Pierre Duhamel Muller
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