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October 29, 2020

Denver Film Festival - Spring Blossom

spring blossom.jpg

Seize printemps
Suzanne Lindon - 2020

Does the world need another film about a teenage girl and an adult man? Even if the relationship remains chaste? Even if the film is written and directed by a young woman who also plays the lead role?

Filmmaker Suzanne Lindon is the twenty year old daughter of French actors Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain, two names that should be familiar to anyone following contemporary French cinema. She looks like a blend of her parents. Lindon also looks young enough to pass for the sixteen year old character, also named Suzanne. If that's not enough, Suzanne has a poster for the film Suzanne, the alternate title for Maurice Pialat's A Nos Amour, about a sexually promiscuous teen girl. Lindon started to write the screenplay when she was fifteen.

Suzanne expresses her disinterest in classmates concerns. While she surprises her parents by going out to a party, she generally prefers being alone, reading. She spots a man, Raphael, 35 years old, as she comes home from school, eventually ascertaining that he's an actor performing at a nearby theater, and a regular customer at a cafe. Striking a conversation with Raphael, the two start meeting regularly. As infatuated as Suzanne is with Raphael, she is also aware that the relationship can not continue.

Even at the relatively short running time of 73 minutes, Spring Blossom feels padded. The thin story is interrupted by several musical interludes. The first is of Suzanne dancing in the street to a song by Mary J. Blige. Later, she and Raphael do some synchronized movements while sitting in a cafe to an opera by Vivaldi. The two dance on an empty theater stage and again in a bar. I have no problem with musical numbers seeming to come out of nowhere but it seems overused here and does not add much to the story or to the characters. The cafe scene may have seemed clever, but I felt like Lindon was taking inspiration from the "Madison" scene in Band of Outsiders. Not that others have done it, but the way it was done here only emphasizes pretentiousness rather than joy. Added to that, Suzanne Lindon sings the title song at the end of the film which is almost a summation of what we have seen. Lindon's singing voice is as wispy as her story. She could have well released the song by itself without going through the trouble of making a film for the little she had to say.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 29, 2020 06:43 AM