At a school in the south of France, timid student François discovers his latent homosexuality when he enters into an erotic relationship with farm boy Serge. A bizarre love triangle soon forms between François, his best friend Maetie and Serge while the French Algerian war rages in the background.
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4 in the morning, there's no one around. You and Wild Reeds. Watching the images rolling by. Who am I? Who are you? Why have we met, and where is all of this going to lead? It is the mysteries of the characters and of life that I want to keep. Four students gradually understand the feelings budding inside them. Death and distance. None of it will matter anymore when you have hope in the feeling to continue.
It is indeed very sweet. The story is pretty straightforward, but we soon care for the main characters. At first I felt the ending was too inconclusive, but after thinking about it it makes sense. These kids are lost in many ways, and there IS NO conclusion. Life moves forward. I suppose it works better than a traditional happy ending, whose impact would nothing but ephemeral. That said, the editing could be cleaner.
Tad on the long side, but worth it for the performances. Loved the teacher's conflicted relationship with her former student. The four young people were well-written and affecting. Henri's hatred for the Algerians prevents him from moving forward in a positive direction. Francois' meeting with the shoe salesman is poignant as two generations collide. Appreciated Maite's honesty about her feelings. Gorgeous last shot.
Can't believe it was only made in '94. The filmmaking seems like it's right out of the 70's or something (that's a compliment). It dwindles a bit in the middle and towards the end, but then it hits probably its best marks in the final act. The characters could have been fleshed out more, but in a film with pacing like this, it would have gone on too long if they tried to. So not great, but some good stuff in it.
A film that in its awkward misfires and too-earnest, near caricatures of Thinking (through of the ethical and political) mirrors the gawkiness of adolescence to such a convincing degree that it is hard to resist its conviction about what it feels like to be young and full of passionate conviction.