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ROME 2017 Alice nella Città

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Lola+Jeremy: An homage to Michel Gondry


- The debut feature by French director July Hygreck is crammed with pop-culture references, comics and film quotes

Lola+Jeremy: An homage to Michel Gondry
Charlotte Gabri and Syrus Shahidi in Lola+Jeremy

Screened as part of the Kino Panorama section in the Alice nella Città programme at Rome Film Fest, Lola+Jeremy [+see also:
film profile
, the debut feature by French director July Hygreck, is due to be released in Italian cinemas in January 2018, distributed by Sun Film Group. The film’s original French title is Blockbuster, which makes a lot of sense when you watch it. An Italian-French co-production between Rosebud Entertainment Pictures and Virginie Films on the French side and Sun Film, Hermes Film and Polifemo on the Italian side, the film stars Charlotte Gabri, known for playing Estelle in Babysitting [+see also:
film profile
, and Syrus Shahidi. Lola+Jeremy also features three brief cameos – of a certain appeal – from director Michel Gondry, drummer Manu Katché (who played alongside Peter Gabriel for years) and rapper Youssoupha, who all make appearances as themselves.

The plot is rather "à la Gondry": Jeremy, 27, is a graphic designer and runs the agency ‘Desperately Seeking an Alibi’ with his friend Mathias, creating fake alibis using invoices and receipts for cheating fiancés. Lola, 25, works in a comic book shop and is passionate about superheroes and Michel Gondry’s films, in particular Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which she never tires of watching over and over again. Hygreck’s film begins with a video of the two: Lola and Jeremy have decided to capture every moment of their relationship, creating a sort of daily video diary that they can look back on in ten years’ time.

But too much curiosity can be dangerous. While re-watching videos, Lola finds some from before she met Jeremy and can’t resist watching them on her own. Video after video, she finds one she shouldn't have seen: it shows Jeremy and his friends talking about an idea to essentially attract a girl and get her to agree to film a video diary that looks like one made by a couple in love. Hurt, Lola dumps Jeremy. In actual fact, the diary was meant to be shown to his father, terminally ill in hospital. In desperation, the young man plans to bring together a group of bizarre superheroes who kidnap famous characters. The reward is Lola.

Pop culture, comics, film quotes, and social networks are all found in abundance in this film, which is devoted to a wide-ranging audience, from teenagers to thirty-somethings, with the film originally getting off the ground thanks to the crowd-funding platform, KissKissBankBank. Among the influences for the film, Hygreck cites Final Cut by Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis (starring Jude Law), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry, 500 Days of Summer by Marc Webb, Le Bal des actrices [+see also:
film profile
by Maïwenn and 2 Days in Paris [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Christophe Mazodier
interview: Julie Delpy
film profile
by Julie Delpy. July Hygreck goes from a deliberately "filthy" video diary (a kind of horror film "fond-footage" vibe) to the stylistic cleanliness of "real life," with a more classical cinema feeling, shot through a hazy filter that gives the feature the feeling of having been shot on real film.

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