“I’m tired of everything. From boys and girls at school. From my teachers. From my routine. I’m bored.” That is the way in which 16-year-old Suzanne (Suzanne Lindon) describes her life to the man with whom she will start a particular romance, the 35-year-old actor Raphaël (Arnaud Valois).
Spring Blossom, an Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2020, is Lindon’s directing debut at the age of nineteen, from a script she wrote at fifteen. Reasons enough for everyone to take a chance to see this film.
Lindon presents an irresistibly romantic story with a unique lead character, which she plays gracefully. However, this is not only a romantic film, but also a moving look at the concerns of a teenager entering the adult world.
The protagonist is an introverted young girl who spends most of her time reading and does not seem to enjoy the company of her school friends. In fact, his father is surprised when she suddenly announces that she is going to a party at night. “Usually, you never want to go out,” he tells her. What her family does not know is that Suzanne has been marked by an exchange of glances with Raphaël, who acts in a play that is presented in the theater around the corner.
Suzanne spends the following days walking down the same street in search of Raphaël’s eyes, who at first is unfazed by the girl, but later falls in love with her undeniable innocent charm. In fact, we never get to know much about Raphaël, only that he seems to share that bored state with Suzanne. “I don’t know how to act anymore,” he says, tired of presenting the same play over and over again.
Maybe that is also what drew him to Suzanne, the opportunity to experience something different and get out of the routine. Similarly, she is not comfortable around people her age, but seems to find something comforting in Raphaël’s company.
The truth is that Lindon never answers (and perhaps does not seek to do so) the questions that we could ask ourselves about this romance between a minor and an adult. Everything happens so fast. But sometimes love is like this: you do not have time to process events and when you realize it you are fully involved with that person. Especially if it is your first love.
Interestingly, that fleeting romance finds quiet in some beautiful musical moments in which it seems that time between them (or around them) just stops. The couple twice do a mixture of dance and pantomime, perfectly synchronizing with music, and love in the air.
Lindon demonstrates enormous musical sensitivity, as well as the ability to capture the magic of silences and gazes both at acting and directing level. Valois does not have to do much – he is charismatic enough and the camera loves him. Together they create a special chemistry.
There is no development of supporting characters (maybe because they are never an essential part of the story). We never got to know much about Suzanne in family intimacy. Truth be told, Lindon must hone her storytelling skills and take more care in character construction. She has many interesting ideas, both narrative and visual, which at times get lost in a confusing execution. Nevertheless, the essence of that first love is there and in fact, many will be able to identify with the story and relive some memories.
Spring Blossom opens in select theaters May 21
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