The party scene inspires and makes you dream of an alternate life you might've had burning furniture in the French countryside dancing to rock and roll and Ledoyen is obscenely beautiful. I love Assayas' films and while Cold Water serves as a great intro to his stylistic techniques this felt largely dull and annoying - exactly the way you'd expect a tortured teenager to behave. The end was very "Cool story, bro."
This surprisingly unheard of gem in French cinema is a truly haunting and captivating experience into the perspective of wild and disillusioned youth at the height of the 1970s that flows with the best choices in music of the time and brings a chill of both beauty and sadness at the sight of young people's free-spirited desires and lonely self-destruction.
Early 70's. French teenagers do and feel what their American cousins did and felt a few years before. Gilles and Christine come from dysfunctional families and don't really know what to do with their lives; they just want to be left alone. Christine dreams of a life surrounded by artists and nature. But it's winter, it's cold and even if she's burning with rage, her contact with cold water won't produce steam. 3*.
Deliberate handhelds abound, usually as close-ups, which gives the one-takes the flavor of montage. Character's that aren't the protagonists only get one scene, as Assayas jumps across locations and times without warning - a very compelling way to make the emotional connections feel powerful yet arbitrary. A party scene goes on for too long, and that's my only complaint.
A lot of people don't realize that, long before she haunted Assayas' recent Clouds of Personal Shopping diptych, and prior even to her career-making turn in the Twilight saga, Kristen Stewart was actually a French actress named Virginie Ledoyen, whose own career was made by this very beautiful Assayas essay (autobiographical?) in early '70s adolescent love, angst, and kleptomania. It was here she first disappeared.
I have a soft-corner for early Assayas. A definitive post-68 film that is filled with visual and aural tropes that is a signature of the generation. And the music, oh that music! Especially in that party when GNR, Cohen and Nico play one after the other. And Janitor of Lunacy. Musically perhaps the most significant film of its time.