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15/30 ‘Jeune & Jolie’ & The Quintessence of Parisian Cliché

September 15, 2013


Nothing sounds more promising on a Sunday night than a Cannes official selection movie about a young, Parisian teenager with a virginal beauty reminiscent of Nabokov’s Lolita, that decides to indulge in the dark (and apparently very well paying) job of prostitution. Signed by Francois Ozon, a director known from movies like 8 Femmes and the dark Swimming Pool and supported by the french audience so far, seemed like a safe bet.

Although the movie manages to capture Marine Vacth’s beauty in a breathtaking way, making Laetitia Casta or Elisa Sednaoui look old and overdone, this movie fails to engage the viewer in a search for deeper meaning. In fact, the camera as well as the character development stays at such a superficial level that is disturbingly surprising. It leaves no mystery and most importantly it doesn’t give any desire to question her motives. This movie could have been a great exploration of prostitution attitudes (see Sleeping Beauty by Julia Leigh), sexuality or even of the french cultural attitude towards sex. The only thing that gives desire is the ability to look effortlessly sexy with a non chalant attitude in just a simple parka and  a matte lip (thank god for ysl beauty) that will make all parisian (and beyond) girls envious of this style. Here’s hoping that the soon to come La Vie d’Adele, will prove that the portrayal of french jeunesse is more than messy hair and a cool make up finish. 

(15/30: Part of The September Issue project: 30 days, 30 posts)


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    September 15, 2013 23:05

    I somewhat disagree. I think the viewer is often brought to question her motives, through the secondary characters (mother, clients, policemen).

    It is very true that her very natural beauty is quintessential to Paris and her style is very easily spotted in the wealthy and laidback areas of the 6th arrdt.

    My main wonder when I got out of the projection was the reason of the introduction with her German summer fling. It seemed weird in a way.

  2. September 16, 2013 11:10

    i think the other characters do push you to question, but not to a sufficient extent. I think when it comes to secondary characters the only ones contextually interesting were the brother and the client’s wife, which again stayed unexploited material..

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