Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)

 

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The true story of a group of French teenagers who indulge in some regular bacchanalia.

 

Bang Gang

The big bang theory: Lorenzo Lefèbvre and Marilyn Lima
 

There’s not much love in Eva Husson’s modern morality tale. There are schoolgirl crushes, the odd schoolboy infatuation and a good deal of rampant sex. Stamped with a note of profundity by an opening quote from Carl Jung, the film proceeds to show what a prurient world the post-porn generation of teenagers now inhabit. At its centre is ‘George’ (Marilyn Lima), an improbably beautiful 16-year-old in the mould of Brigitte Bardot, but with the physique of an undernourished model. She hangs out with her best friend Laetitia (Daisy Broom), a virgin, and under the influence of an illegal substance (ecstasy?) suggests that she and her gang act out a game of ‘truth or dare’ – without the truth. She calls it a bang gang and soon all her friends, bar Laetitia, are experimenting with their bodies, while recording every thrust with their iPhones. In the background are news reports of a tragic train ‘derailing,’ adding an air of apocalyptic predestination along with the warnings of an unseasonably sultry summer.

 

Eva Husson, whose first film this is, shows a true command of her medium and has solicited some naturalistic, unabashed performances from her attractive cast. But in spite of the film’s censure of contemporary immorality – the expectation of instant sexual gratification – it does border on soft porn with a licence.

 

The story’s one redeeming character is Gabriel (Lorenzo Lefèbvre), a solitary techno-music nerd, who spends much of his time at home, in part to cater to the corporeal needs of his father, a quadriplegic. However, even Gabriel seems a reluctant altruist and, like everybody else, just wants to have his way with George.

 

Husson doesn’t let us sympathise with any of her characters, but maybe that’s her point. They are all victims of an age in which sex has lost its value and, as in the true events on which the film is based, fall foul of their wantonness. One can’t help feeling, though, that Husson is trying to feed us her gateau and allowing us to eat it.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Finnegan Oldfield, Marilyn Lima, Daisy Broom, Lorenzo Lefèbvre, Fred Hotier, Manuel Husson.

 

Dir Eva Husson, Pro Didar Domehri, Laurent Baudens and Gaël Nouaille, Screenplay Eva Husson, Ph Mattias Troelstrup, Pro Des David Bersanetti, Ed Emilie Orsini, Music White Sea (aka Morgan Kibby).

 

Full House/Canal+/Orange Cinéma Séries/Centre National de la Cinématographie-Metrodome. 

98 mins. France. 2015. Rel: 17 June 2016. Cert. 18.