Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Jeune & Jolie (18) | Film Review


Jeune & Jolie, dir/wr. Francois Ozon, st. Marine Vacth, Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Pailhas, Frederic Pierrot

Parents Association members from schools across the country who mourn their children's contracting term of childhood and attend such wine and cheese evenings entitled The Perils Of The Internet or Is Your Child Sexually Active? would do well to avoid Ozon's latest, a frosty meander through the story of Isabelle's (Vacth) sexual - maybe 'wielding' is a better word than 'awakening'. After what may only be described as an underwhelming initial sexual experience while on holiday with her parents, the young Isabelle, possessing of a stature that belies her years, self-employs as an escort, after each encounter coming home and stashing her fee in a shoebox in her wardrobe. Her relationship with her Mother is strained, and virtually non-existent with her Stepfather, yet there's a faintly alarming intimacy that she shares with her younger brother that verges on the unhealthy. Little explanation is forthcoming however, either from Isabelle or Ozon. The film often startles in its resolute denial to engage with any kind of an argument or intention of getting inside Isabelle's head - the film's title, in fact, seems to unapologetically state all we need to know, explaining away the thornier issues with a simple description of our protagonist. Why not? it seems to unsettlingly ask. Ozon's film seems as detached as Isabelle herself, but there's also an honesty at work too in its commitment to portray instinctive behaviour that needs to reason to justify itself. The real question is whether teenage apathetic indifference is ever that interesting a watch.