Boyhood Loves

Boyhood Loves


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

A young man, Paul, returns to his provincial home to visit his father, who is dying of cancer. The people and places he left behind when he went away are still there, but everyone and everything has changed and he cannot go back.

It may sound like a case of stop me if you've heard this one before, but fortunately there's enough in this debut feature to overcome the well-worn scenario.

Copy picture

Initially the deliberate pacing of the film, in which every second line of dialogue seems to be repeated, irritates and makes you think it's going to be one of those "watching paint dry" experiences. But slowly Boyhood Loves crawls under your skin.

Writer-director Yves Caumon notices the small details, such as the way Paul inhabits his different styles of clothing over the course of the movie, and makes them count.

Directorially, he's subtle. Mostly it's about getting credible, finely nuanced performances from the actors; this serves to make his obvious interventions all the more effective.

Look at the confrontation between Paul and his old friend Thierry in the woods, where the elliptical treatment leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether Paul confessed to his relationship with Thierry's girlfriend, Odile, or Thierry noticed something was up.

Or, take the masterful closing sequence. Initially we share Paul's POV as Odile enters the house. Then, after she re-appears, Paul's silent departure is revealed through a full 360 degree camera movement, tracking Odile around the farmyard. A brilliantly conceived sequence, it manages to encapsulate the central themes of Boyhood Loves - cyclical return, flux and stasis - in a nutshell, ensuring the film ends on a high yet poignant note.

Boyhood Loves is an impressive debut feature, the quality of the filmmaking ultimately overcoming the somewhat familiar nature of the story.

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2001
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Boyhood Loves packshot
A young Frenchman returns from the city to the rural home of his youth to visit his dying father in this subtle, effective drama.

Director: Yves Caumon

Writer: Yves Caumon

Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Lauryl Brossier, Fabrice Cals, Michele Gary, Roger Souza, Bernard Blancan, Nicole Miana, Fredric Bonpart, Paul Crouzet

Year: 2001

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: France


EIFF 2001

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