Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Writer: Mia Hansen-Løve, Sven Hansen-Løve
Cast: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka, Hugo Bienvenu, Vincent Lacoste, Arnaud Azoulay, Greta Gerwig, Brady Corbet
Seen on: 21.5.2015
It’s the 90s in Paris and electronic music, in particular House, is on the rise. Paul (Félix de Givry) loves the music and the scene. He dreams of becoming a DJ himself and is slowly making that dream become a reality. Together with his friend Stan (Hugo Conzelmann) they become the DJ duo Cheers and they enjoy some success, even though they’re far from as successful as their friends Quentin (Hugo Bienvenu) and Thomas (Vincent Lacoste), aka Daft Punk and far from successful enough to really make a living from it. But Paul doggedly stays with his choice of career, despite estrangement from (girl)friends, mounting debts and a drug problem.
Eden dragged quite a bit, unfortunately, and I think that it’s a film I’ll forget quickly. I just never really connected with Paul and since the film focuses exclusively on him, not connecting is as good as a death sentence.
Pretty soon after the beginning of the film I started to wish that we’d get more information about Stan and that the film would follow him more closely rather than Paul. I was generally irritated by the fact that he was treated little more than a footnote to Paul, despite the fact that they were the two halves of Cheers and that it wasn’t a solo act. Or should I rather say that they were two thirds of Cheers since there was also the soundmixer who was so sidelined, I can’t even remember his name anymore.
I wished for more Stan not only because he seemed like a nice guy and not only because I’m growing tired of stories that concentrate on a single person who apparently achieves (or fails to achieve) greatness all on their own: in my experience nothing big and great and cool ever comes from anybody alone – there are always many people involved and we shouldn’t reduce that kind of achievement down to a single genius. No, the main reason why I wanted more Stan (or more Louise [Pauline Etienne]) was that I just didn’t care for Paul a whole lot.
Paul is a narcissist who refuses to take any kind of responsibility and makes one bad decision after the other. That makes him hard to like, but it would still be possible to care whether he manages to maybe grow up a little. But the film takes way too long setting up his character in that way and then spends way too little time with any kind of development, despite spanning 20 years of his life.
And that’s what makes this film so unbearably long. I fully realize that the film tries to represent the inner emptiness of Paul’s life, but it emulates emptiness a little too well, becoming devoid of entertainment and emotional investment, leaving the audience increasingly frustrated.