french films > Young Girls in Black

Young Girls in Black

young girls in black

Young Girls in Black

cast: Elise Lhomeau, Léa Tissier, Elise Caron, Isabelle Sadoyan

year: 2010

colour: yes


director: Jean-Paul Civeyrac

runtime: 85

Jean-Paul Civeyrac (À travers le forêt, LFF 2005) remains among the best-kept secrets of French auteur cinema, and this stylish, enigmatic study of teenage ennui bears his idiosyncratic minor-key stamp. Two high-school outsiders, flautist Noémie (Elise Lhomeau) and best friend Priscilla (Léa Tissier), decide to air their contempt for society by following their hero, the German Romantic writer Kleist, and make a suicide pact - but things get complicated when it comes to the crunch. Suggesting a poetic, highly aesthetic take on the youth-cult territory explored by US directors such as Gus van Sant and Gregg Araki, Civeyrac's film doesn't overemphasise the tribal trappings - although there's no shortage of Goth/emo regalia on display - but concentrates to intimate effect on the girls' mutually dependent folie à deux. With terrific, unsettling performances from the two young leads, the film carries echoes of Heavenly Creatures and My Summer of Love, with DoP Hichame Alaouié's long takes and faded palette exploring well beyond the confines of realism. Young Girls in Black is a totally distinctive contribution to the French cinema of teenage angst.

Jonathan Romney


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