Director: Mia Hanson-Love
Films about clubbing. If great films about making music are in short supply, great films about clubbing are even shorter. John Simm gurning in Human Traffic, Kevin and Perry gurning in ibiza, Paul Kaye…in fact British films about clubbing generally just involve a lot of gurning. There’s no gurning in Eden. As befits a French film about clubbing the whole look of the film is immaculate, from the first scene in an early nineties rave deep in a forest, to the very-well dressed writers group at the end. Eden, a French film by director Mia Hanson-Love, takes an unpromising musical subject: the French garage scene of the 90s that gave birth to Daft Punk, and spins a tale that’s IMHO one of most successful films about music.
It follows Paul, a Parisian dj and producer, over sixteen years from 18ish to 34. He gives up his studies to pursue an initially-successful career as a DJ, fuelled by a love of garage (and drugs, the film is not short on chopping out action). However, and this is much the most interesting part of the film, it’s not structured like a classic success story: the coming together/early struggles/big break/unstoppable rise/hubris and fall. Paul enjoys some success – DJing in New York, but the film isn’t really interested in how successful he is. That story is Daft Punk’s, who flit in and out of the film and keep getting turned away at the door.
Instead his life, as told in a series of scenes that flit between his girlfriends, his music making and his relationships with his collaborators seeks to say something else. That music – above all dance music – exists in an eternal present. On the dancefloor we are all in the now. But though the music – in the words of Sterling Void – plays on and on and on, we don’t. Paul’s friends from the dancefloor get jobs, move away, have babies while Paul himself stays motionless and seemingly ageless behind the decks. But it’s not like that forever, and the last third of the film explores what happens when real life can’t be shut out any longer.
And – it shows – the music licensing is absolutely brilliant. This film I would put suggest has one of the greatest soundtrack of any film that isn’t about one artist since Woodstock. It’s a 50:50 percentage of stone-cold classics (Daft Punk licensed generously which helped get the film made) and ‘what the hell is this? It’s great. Strong on garage and the ‘filter house’ that defined late the late 90s Paris sound. From early rave classics from Joey Beltram, The Orb and Sueno Latino; garage staples from Frankie Knuckles, Joe Smooth and Juliet Roberts to tracks entirely new to me from people like Mr Onester, Octave One and Watanebe. The key line in the whole film occurs in the first few scenes, when Paul approaches a DJ after a club night and asks him about a record he played, that he particularly liked, as the track was euphoric and melancholic at the same time. It’s the whole film.The track is in the comments.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Clubbing in the 90s, Paris. Boyhood (for the sense of time passing)