Eden (15) | Close-Up Film Review
Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve, France, 2014, 128 mins, in French with subtitles
Cast: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka
Mia Hansen-Løve follows up Goodbye First Love and Father of My Children with another effortlessly cool, immensely watchable film with an autobiographical element. But in Eden, she is also telling the story of her generation of French electronica DJs and fans, from the 1990s to now.
Paul (de Givry) is taking his first steps as a Parisian DJ. With his best friend he creates
a duo called Cheers, and they are soon caught up in the euphoric rave scene. For Paul, it is a shortlived rise to fame, but one that threatens to imbalance his whole life.
Eden is based on the story of Hansen-Løve’s own brother, who had a DJing career in the “French Touch” movement, a generation that still enjoys international success thanks to musicians like Daft Punk, Dimitri from Paris and Cassius.
It is an impressively filmed, hypnotic story to watch, told in Hansen-Løve’s usual
nonchalant, anti-iconic fashion, almost as if the performers have stepped out of a Robert Bresson movie. This way of filming works really well given the story of counter-culture French House tribes and the music that features throughout the film. Lots of attention has been paid to an appropriate playlist for the film, although all of that appropriateness went over my head and I will have to leave it to fans of the music to enthuse over the soundtrack.
I thought I was going to get bored at the ‘life story’ approach and the fact that it is spread out over two hours; but in fact the film remains gripping, in a slightly dazed way, throughout; with the camera staying close to the action at all times in a way that is pretty immersive.
There are some nice in-jokes that even I got: the film is punctuated by appearances of the real Daft Punk as they become more and more famous; but in one scene they are refused entry to a club because, with all their wearing of animal heads and helmets, nobody knows what they look like.
Review by Colin Dibben