CinemaSavannah is ready to whisk the Lowcountry away on a new wave of French cinema.
My Golden Days (a.k.a. Memories of My Youth” is a brand-new film from Arnaud Desplechin (My Sex Life ... or How I Got Into an Argument, A Christmas Tale).
Heralded by Vogue’s John Powers as “perhaps the finest evocation of young love I’ve ever seen on screen,” My Golden Days was a smash hit at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival last May, earning Desplechin the César Award and Lumières Award for Best Director in addition to the SACD Prize.
The story is derived from the memories of Paul Dedalus (Mathieu Amalric), who acts as Desplechin’s alter ego of sorts. Hearkening back to the glory days of French New Wave, it’s part love story and part amateur spy caper, sincere, gripping, and wistfully painful at times.
Paul is heading home to Paris after living abroad for many years. As he makes his way back, getting caught up in a case of mistaken identity, he begins reflecting on his childhood in the ‘80s.
Sectioned off into three distinct memories, contextualized by currently, middle-aged Paul, the audience sees the struggles of his youth in dealing with his mentally ill mother and depressive father. In the next two chapters, Paul (played by Quentin Dolmaire in his younger roles) travels and ends up at university where he meets the Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet).
Off the bat, Esther tells Paul that she’s “extraordinary,” and thus begins a whirlwind romance.
Throughout, the viewer is left wondering: are these true portrayals of memories, or are have they been altered through years of looking back with longing?
Dolmaire and Roy-Lecollinet, both newcomers to the screen, have received widespread praise for their sharp portrayal of vulnerability, the flush of first love, and intimacy.
Deeply influenced by Wes Anderson and Bergman’s Summer with Monika, lovers of agonizing romance and nostalgic reflections in film will eat up My Golden Days.
Though it functions as the origin story for the lead of My Sex Life, you don’t need to have seen the 1993 film to follow My Golden Days; Despelchin requested that his actors not even watch it, insisting that Golden Days act as its own story.