The directorial debut from Eva Husson, ‘Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story‘ portrays groups of bored seventeen year old’s in beige domestic settings. From the title, these promiscuous teens start to host sex parties, and their relationships play out before some obvious consequences are realised.
There are some interesting tracking shots, following characters around the mass gatherings as if we the audience are stood there next to them and therefore implicated in their actions. These are often long in duration but with footage removed – that is to say we are following the same character in roughly the same place within the frame, only the cut jumps to a different room or the exterior of the house as they are leaving it. If you have seen the film’s trailer you will know exactly what this involves.
Erratic editing techniques match the spontaneity and energy of the sexual actions of the characters. All of the rest of the cinematography is pretty standard indie fare. You could watch pretty much any independent ‘coming of age’ drama from the past decade and see the same types of stylistic choices being made: a tracking shot of a character riding a bicycle, exterior shots at sunset to capture a golden hue on screen, use of minimal ambient soundtrack… the list goes on. Don’t go into this expecting anything radical in terms of film-making.
The narrative on the other hand is somewhat ambitious. The subject matter of teen sexuality being one that is echoed in previous films – most immediately there’s Larry Clark‘s ‘Kids‘, as well the 2003 film ‘Thirteen‘. Unlike those films, ‘Bang Gang‘ has a more fine detailed narrative, and the emotions of each lead and their decision making shows another side to the characterisation.
Perhaps the flaw here is that the privilege of the those represented on screen is never really discussed. In a film like ‘Kids‘ the shock is immediate and ongoing throughout as the character’s carelessness is the basis of the feature. With ‘Bang Gang‘, it is maybe perceived as a similarly controversial title as a result of the marketing of the film, and the attention it has in the press. Yet the character’s interpersonal relationships are displayed in such a different way. This film makes no demand that we judge these teens too heavily for their actions. Does that make their motivations seem unclear? It’s all left ambiguous, which is simultaneously a help and a hindrance.
This is more than just a film about teenage sexuality, for sure. It seems to reference the anonymity and randomness of some forms of friendship, love, and sex. It deconstructs some suburban domestic settings. It also talks about the weight of technology in the modern coming of age narrative. It just sometimes falls short of cementing these ideas with definitive conclusions, afterall that is far from it’s intention.
[rating=3] |Zach Roddis
Drama, World Cinema | France, 2016 | 18 | Metrodome Distribution | 18th July 2016 (UK) |Dir.Eva Husson | Finnegan Oldfield, Marilyn Lima, Lorenzo Lefèbvre, Daisy Broom, Fred Hotier | Buy:[DVD]