is such a delicately strung film – filled with heartbreaking fragility – that it’s easy to overlook the fact that it’s also a deceptively ambitious work, be it in its bold temporal scope and multiple thematic interests or its absorbing slew of diverse tonal and emotional hues. These aspects, along with the intimate nature of its narrative – being a semi-fictionalized memoir of director Mia Hansen-Løve’s brother and co-writer Sven –, juxtaposed against a fascinating milieu – viz. the rise and decline of house and garage music in France – made this an entrancing film and an enthralling watch. The movie, therefore, was both epic and personal, and its mood palette traversed between “euphoria and melancholia”, as it portrayed the journey of Paul (Félix de Givry) – from a university student hoping to be a writer who’s swept away by the tidal wave by the Parisian underground musical circuit during the early 90s; to forming one half of a successful DJ duo around the same time as Daft Punk also formed, to playing gigs and hosting shows both in clubs and on the radio in Paris and even travelling to New York and Chicago over the 90s and the 2000s; to becoming engulfed by debts and addiction to the point of having to hit a hard reset in his life in the early 2010s. Givry was quietly affecting in the role of the protagonist, as were Pauline Étienne as his dazzling and vulnerable girlfriend who eventually moves on, Roman Kolinka as a brilliant but troubled graphic artist, Vincent Macaigne as an on-off buddy, etc. Both the soundtrack and the photography were simultaneously fabulous and low-key, in keeping with Løve’s magnificent and distinctive directorial signature.
Director: Mia Hansen-Love