Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Party

La Boum, Comedy, France, 1980; D: Claude Pinoteau, S: Sophie Marceau, Claude Brasseur, Brigitte Fossey, Denise Grey, Alexandre Sterling

The 13-year old girl Vic moves with her dad Francois, a dentist, and mother Francoise, a comic drawer, to Paris. Although an outsider at school, she manages to become friends with Penelope. When two boys invite them to a party, they accept. There she meets a nice boy Mathieu and falls in love with him. At the same time, her dad admits to her mom that he had an affair, so they decide to separate for a month. Out of revenge, her mom starts an affair with Mr Lehman, but eventually reconciles with her husband. When Vic finds out Mathieu is also meeting with another girl, she makes him jealous by kissing her father as if he is her lover. Eventually, she also reconciles with him and arranges a party for her 14th birthday.

Teenage comedy "La Boum" looks like some sort of a looser, faster and clumsier female French version of Allen's typical outsider comedies, a simple coming of age film whose charm is still fresh and quirky today. The film is poor with directing skills, somewhat clumsy and almost cheap at moments in realization, but in the end it doesn't matter since it's rich with wonderful characters, emotions, humor and energy, while Sophie Marceau, then only 13 years old, is absolutely brilliant in her movie debut, perfectly embodying the cute Vic. At least two of the film's humorous situations became classic and have been copied a thousand times in other films and TV shows: in one, outsiders Penelope and Vic are walking on the street, contemplating how to make friends, when two boys show up on their bikes and invite them to their party since they have too few girls. Penelope and Vic look at them in a cool, uninterested way and reply that they will "maybe" make it. When the boys leave the two girls turn into the total opposite: they drop their disguise and start cheering from joy, being lucky to have been invited to a party. In another, Vic spots Mathieu approaching so she becomes nervous and quickly asks Penelope to pretend as if they are talking about something cheerful. Penelope says: "What should I say?" upon which Vic responds: "So that's what he said! Ha, ha...", but Mathieu passes by her without greeting her. The story avoids turning into kitsch, sharply observing the problems of teenagers and even issuing how the 13-year old Vic thinks that she would be ready to sleep with her boyfriend. The song "Dreams are My Reality" is pure nostalgia, even for those who were not even born during that time, and despite a rather bizarre, confusing and inconclusive end the film has so much life that it's hard not to stand up and cheer at it's characters.


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