Goodbye First Love, Mia Hansen-Løve’s accomplished third feature, reminds one of Maurice Pialat’s films in the way it portrayed love – bordering on irrational, delusional, self-destructive – by stripping it of overt displays of emotions, sentimentality and nostalgia. Instead, what we have here is an intense yet sensitive depiction of a messy romance, which only grows messier with time. The narrative, set over a wide temporal arc of nearly a decade, is structured into three acts – it begins with Camille (Lola Créton), a 15-year old Parisian girl, passionately in love with the relatively reticent Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky), who eventual breaks off with her upon embarking on a 10-month backpacking trip to South America, nearly leading to the emotionally fragile girl’s suicide; fast forward four years later, and she’s now an architecture student with growing finesse for her vocation, and gets involved with her admired professor Lorenz (Magne Håvard-Brekke), who also happens to be significantly older to her; in the final act, set another few years later, Camille gets accidently reconnected with Sullivan who’s now based in Marsaille, and the two get embroiled in a clandestine affair despite she still being in relationship with Lorenz, only for him to yet again dispay his unwillingness to commit beyond a point. The protagonist’s arc provided for a rather ironic elucidation of the maxim that, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Interestingly, while Camille’s liaison with Lorenz alludes to Hansen-Løve’s own relationship with and eventual marriage to) the much older Assayas, the prime focus of the film, carried commendably by Créton, remained the other – and more turbulent – affair; and the symbolic final scene brought things to a surprisingly refreshing end.
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Genre: Drama/Romantic Drama