© Weltkino Filmverleih

Jung & schön (Young & Beautiful, Jeune & Jolie)
France 2013

Opening 14 Nov 2013

Directed by: François Ozon
Writing credits: François Ozon
Principal actors: Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, Fantin Ravat, Johan Leysen

Four seasons pass as we follow Isabelle, a beautiful 17-year-old girl, in her rise as a recreational prostitute. The film opens at the end of summer where she is at the beach on vacation with her parents. As they pack to return to the city, she says good-bye to her summer flirt, a cute boy her own age. Perhaps this summer romance made a greater impression than we realize. Now in the fall and back in high school, she begins secretly to meet older men with whom she has sex for 300 euros a pop. (I counted nine sex scenes in all.) All just for fun, she doesn’t need the money which she stashes away in her room. Winter follows, and then in the spring a slight tragedy breaks her cover, and her mother and step-father learn the facts. What a shock! They blame themselves; what did they do wrong?

French director François Ozon is back with another film about relationships, although not about old people this time, although some old guys do play a part, but this time it’s about a teenager realizing her sexuality. This isn’t Eight Women or Swimming Pool, but Ozon does have a talent for presenting people with problems. Whether we can relate is something else, although his film Dan la maison about a teenaged boy and a school teacher did seem possible. I was wondering if Isabelle had too little homework, too few school activities. She definitely has too much time for silliness. Naturally, Marine Vacth, a successful model in her first starring role, is beautiful and can look forward to a future in film. My favourite scene was the last five minutes with an older woman (Charlotte Rampling) which summarized the events perfectly, although it could have been a dream. Decide for yourself. There are four original chansons (lyric-driven French songs) by Françoise Hardy. This showed at the 2013 Cannes film festival. (Becky Tan)

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