Freddy is young, unemployed and suffers from epilepsy. He spends his days riding scooters with his friends or hanging out with his girlfriend Marie. An Arab family arrives in town, setting off the racist prejudices of his gang. Marie ignores them and takes up with Kader, the immigrant boy.
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A director's first film contains everything they are ever interested in. At least in Bruno Dumont's case, whose first film perfectly captures the mundane, terrifying and spectacular experience of living. Dumont's pin-sharp direction, the gorgeous cinematography with its closeups and lush naturalism, an elliptical yet evocative narrative; all support the central idea that every day is a test, a search for grace.
The social life of young adults in a small rural town in France in 1996 seems little different from that of England, 1966 but in this coolly observed style of film making it seems much, much more terrifying.
Truly beautiful and gripping piece of filmmaking. The first film i have seen by Bruno Dumont has left me full of excitement to watch more.
I felt like sorry for the mundane and slow existence lead by the main characters. Bringing back memories of my own childhood despite being a world away.
Delivers extremely well, mostly avoiding miserabilism by avoiding the gift of excuses to tribal/antisocial behaviour and not painting the opposing side as a perfect angel. The image is great, the sex scenes amazing (the quickie in the field is one of the best 4 second of sex on screen I have seen).
Somewhere between Oshima and Dardennes (nah, JK), but good in very different ways.
Essential cinema. Dumont's debut feature of French miserableness is even more powerful and provocative now then when in debut in '97. Confrontational from its title through execution featuring a collection of authentic performances, from a non-professional cast most of whom never acted again, and low key but solid production values. Scripting is aces but was soon surpassed by his second feature.
I was struck by the contrast of the sensitivity of the boys towards AIDS, and their ignorant attitude to almost everything else. Dumont is a master in capturing small town life with a distinctive, non-judgemental eye. What do you do when you've got nowhere to go?