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Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) and Camille (Lola Créton) experience the pleasure and pain of young romance in GOODBYE FIRST LOVE

CinémaTuesdays: GOODBYE FIRST LOVE (UN AMOUR DE JEUNESSE) (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2011)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, January 8, $10, 12:30, 4:00, 7:30

French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve’s third film is an infuriating yet captivating tale that runs hot and cold. Goodbye First Love begins in Paris in 1999, as fifteen-year-old Camille (Lola Créton) frolics naked with Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky), her slightly older boyfriend. While she professes her deep, undying lover for him, he refuses to declare his total dedication to her, instead preparing to leave her and France for a long sojourn through South America. When Camille goes home and starts sobbing, her mother (Valérie Bonneton), who is not a big fan of Sullivan’s, asks why. “I cry because I’m melancholic,” Camille answers, as only a fifteen-year-old character in a French film would. As the years pass, Camille grows into a fine young woman, studying architecture and dating a much older man (Magne-Håvard Brekke), but she can’t forget Sullivan, and when he eventually reenters her life, she has some hard choices to make. Créton (Bluebeard) evokes a young Isabelle Huppert as Camille, while Urzendowsky (The Way Back) is somewhat distant as the distant Sullivan. There is never any real passion between them; Hansen-Løve (All Is Forgiven, The Father of My Children) often skips over the more emotional, pivotal moments, instead concentrating on the after-effects and discussions. While that works at times, at others it feels as if something crucial was left out, and not necessarily with good reason. Still, Créton carries the film with her puppy-dog eyes, lithe body, and a graceful demeanor that will make you forgive her character’s increasingly frustrating decisions. Goodbye First Love is screening January 8 at Florence Gould Hall, kicking off FIAF’s January CinémaTuesdays series, “Vive la jeunesse! Young French Directors,” and will be accompanied by the U.S. premiere of Zoé Gabillet’s 2011 short film, Sans tambour ni trompette, with Gabillet on hand for a Q&A after the 7:30 show. The series continues with such other double features as Sophie Letourneur’s Le Marin masqué and Rebecca Zlotowski’s Belle Épine on January 15, Vincent Macaigne’s Ce qu’il restera de nous and Guillaume Brac’s Un monde sans femmes on January 22, and Gwendal Sartre’s Song Song and Bijan Anquetil’s La nuit remue on January 29.

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