Sunday, April 30, 2017

Being 17

Movie Name: Being 17
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Andre Techine
Stars: Sandrine Kiberlain, Kacey Mottet Klein, Corentin Fila, Alexis Loret, Jean Corso, Jean Fornerod, Mama Prassinos, Remi Garcia
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer Here

Celebrated director Andre Techine is back, with the feature "Quand on a 17 ans", which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival (2016). The film follows the story of two teenage boys, both of whom live in the French countryside. Damien, lives in the small town, alongside his mother, a warm, good humored doctor, while is father is out of country on military duty. Tom, the other teenager, lives further out, on a farm by the mountains. His adoptive parents are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, which puts Tom living temporarily with Damien and his mother, Marianne. The boys, who have been at odds with each other, often with physical violence, are forced to reassess their relationship. Things finally become clearer when Damien confesses his attraction and love for Tom, something he initially refuses and pushes back violently. A dramatic event however bring these two young men together.
Andre Techine has made a career for himself with intelligent dramas that perfectly capture the dynamics of family relationships, be it blood relations or families that are built upon deep friendships. Some of his finest efforts have been films that capture the pains and challenges of a first love, something that "Les Roseaux Sauvages/Wild Reeds" demonstrated (back in 1994). "Being 17/Quand on a 17 ans" is another perfect example of his capabilities in capturing the bonds that are formed between young inexperienced people who are discovering who they are, how they relate to each other their longing and desire. It's a remarkable film that traces the realities of living in a small town, of discovering a different type of love, and ultimately of coming to peace with one self. It's a film that removes artifice, and presents itself with emotion and honesty. The performances from the central trio are all solid and engaging, particularly the wonderful Sandrine Kiberlain as the pragmatic yet sensitive mother. A very good film from a great director.