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Crítica: La Récréation de juillet


- Pablo Cotten y Joseph Rozé firman una ópera prima astuta, conmovedora y repleta de un encanto poético sobre un grupo de antiguos amigos del colegio reunidos por un duelo

Crítica: La Récréation de juillet
Andranic Manet, Carla Audebaud, Alassane Diong, Nina Zem, Arcadi Radeff y Alba-Gaïa Bellugi en La Récréation de juillet

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

"It just takes a bit of imagination". There’s no shortage of constraints when you’re starting out in feature films, especially when it comes to finance - you have to find a way to stand out and flaunt a promising style on a budget, a feat which has been achieved by the French duo composed of Pablo Cotten and Joseph Rozé with Eternal Playground [+lee también:
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, a clever and engaging film unveiled in the Tribeca Festival’s international competition.

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"Like a big, abandoned château". It’s within a Parisian high school where he works as a music teacher that Gaspard (Andranic Manet) gathers together his old classmates, Adel (Alassane Diong), Esther (Carla Audebaud), Lou (Alba-Gaïa Bellugi), Anthony (Arcadi Radeff) and Alma (Nina Zem), in order to honour the memory of his twin sister (and the childhood friend of the five others), Louise, upon her request, who died a month earlier in an accident in Buenos Aires.

But it’s not by way of the front door that they gain entry to this rendez-vous with their shared past. They access it surreptitiously, clambering over the outer wall with the help of a ladder, because it’s 9 July and the high school has just closed for the summer. Our six stowaways take possession of the premises in order to spend a few days together on site and celebrate the 25th birthday of the deceased and her twin on 14 July. "They came. If that’s not proof of their love, I don’t know what is. High school ties. Picking up where we left off", enthuses Gaspard whose grief runs far deeper than it seems, to the point that he’s lied to Louise’s "guests"…

Unfolding along the lines of unity of (slightly accelerated) time, place and action, Eternal Playground tells the story of a playful yet melancholy return to childhood. From the playground with its basketball nets and ping pong table, to the canteen and the classrooms (where each of them remember exactly where they sat) which serve as improvised dormitories, without forgetting water fights in the corridors (topped off with fire extinguishers), barbecues, handball matches, and improvised music and dancing, these old friends enjoy five days of craziness spent outside of time inside their old high school. But whilst they appear to be reconnecting as a group (though not without some minor score-settling and teasing), each of them did have their own individual relationships with Louise, and airs of grief, guilt and past estrangement constantly resurface, as do their present worlds outside the school walls, because they all have new lives on the horizon (Esther is a theatre actress in training, Alma is starting a medical internship, Adel is embarking on a musical career, etc.). Their reunion also proves to be something of a crossroads for them: from the school basement to the roof and between hopes and fears, the truth gradually emerges.

By lending a sparkly and falsely naive air to their tale, Pablo Cotten and Joseph Rozé deliver a highly engaging generational portrait, which is also that of a highly refreshing little troupe of actors, all to the tune of Relax, Take It Easy by Mika (who donated his song to the film). Beneath its jocular, libertarian and luminous simplicity (whose starting point is reminiscent of Cédric Klapisch’s Le péril jeune), Eternal Playground is a finely wrought piece of work (featuring Louise’s voiceovers courtesy of Noée Abita, highly expressive and disjointed dances by Andranic Manet, music from Kids Return and beautiful 16mm photography by Tara-Jay Bangalter) and a sensitive and poetic variation on the eternally difficult task of facing up to the future while chasing the ghosts of our past.

Eternal Playground is produced by Cowboys Films (who are also steering international sales) and will be released in French cinemas on 3 July courtesy of Wayna Pitch.

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(Traducción del francés)

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