This gimmicky coming-of-age import really milks its concept, which involves a young protagonist who videotapes every waking moment of his confused life.
Etienne (Jimmy Tavares), an ice skating prodigy, is given a video camera and immediately badgers his mother, Caroline (Ariane Ascaride), and grandmother (Helene Surgere) into becoming his first subjects. Etienne sets up the device at his rink to record practice sessions, with a particular emphasis on a handsome rival. When he isn't busy rehearsing triple axles, Etienne films his best friend, Ludo (Lucas Bonnifait), a good-looking student with acting aspirations. Etienne's complaints when Ludo grabs his camcorder to videotape a pretty classmate unwittingly reveal something about himself. Running out of excuses to shoot footage of Ludo, Etienne focuses on other male subjects. He films an attractive male teacher at school and secretly trails after a good-looking older man, Laurent (Jonathan Zaccai), who soon after begins dating Caroline. For every innocuous bit of vacation fun he captures, Etienne uses up twice as much videotape contemplating men. Laurent, whose affection for Etienne's mother makes him indulgent towards her son's eccentricities, indulges Etienne's hobby without realizing he has awakened a longing in the teenager; that said, at one point the drunk and provocative Laurent does comment on Etienne's obsession. Etienne
tries to formulate his unspoken thoughts to Ludo, but his heterosexual pal flees the uncomfortable moment. At a crossroads about his closeted feelings, Etienne sets his camera in place and stares over a cliff. A stranger watches the youth and calls out. Will his video-diary capture Etienne's suicide or his first experience with romantic love? Co-screenwriters and directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau don't entirely avoid the artistic pitfalls that inevitably accompany attempts to mimic the mannerisms of cinema verite film diaries, but there are so few truly memorable coming-out films it seems only fair to cut this one a little slack. It would be nice if Ducastel and Jacques Martineau had summoned up less voyeurism and more drama, but the handle young Etienne's halting voyage of self discovery sensitively and elicit a marvelous debut performance from Tavares. (In French, with subtitles)
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: This gimmicky coming-of-age import really milks its concept, which involves a young protagonist who videotapes every waking moment of his confused life. Etienne (Jimmy Tavares), an ice skating prodigy, is given a video camera and immediately badgers his m… (more)