This entry was posted on April 16th, 2012

By Mónica Delgado

Directed by the debutant Héléna Klotz, L’Age Atomique is a brief film that boards one of the most recurrent topics of independent cinema: adolescence and its digressions. Two boys riding a train to Paris appear on the scene. Alcohol and Red Bull, quotes to rock lyrics, music bands and poetes maldits: Elements that link us to that universe which exacerbates the “atomic age”; a sense of mockery, discovery, alienation and apathy. Victor (Elliot Paquet) and Rainer (Dominik Wojcik) can’t let aside the triviality and banality of their actions despite their constant lucubration about life, rock, and literature: They arrive from the suburbs just to spend another night of drugs and girls in a Parisian adolescent discotheque.

The deterioration of their friendship due to an explicit and unresolved homoerotic relation will trigger the collapse of the night while all this is narrated under an eye which seeks to capture the claustrophobia of night itself represented in closed spaces such as a discotheque of doped and irregular rhythms, the train station, or the dark streets where their empty conversations and fights give place.

Héléna Klotz, in 65 minutes, creates a story with hints of melancholy, sustained in the dialogues of its characters: the “cerebral” dissertations of the XXI century flaneur, thrown in the night in a “push and pull” of attraction and rejection, a game between a homosexual guy and his friend who isn’t interested in him. To arrive at the frustration of both characters under the moon’s influence in the woods, which are near the city and its asphalt and neon, reflects that fast and close escape, where the answers doesn’t necessarily appear.

It’s impossible not to think of Bresson or Van Sant as motivations of this universe proposed by Héléna Klotz, especially in the final sequence located in the woods, reminiscent of the desolation and the all devouring space of Gerry.

L’Age Atomique is a visually powerful film, but one that ends up archetyping its characters precisely because of its dependence on the spoken word:  dialogues which distance us from that “atomic age” that the filmmaker tries to describe.

Director: Héléna Klotz
Writers: Héléna Klotz
Producers: Alexandre Perrier
Cinematographer: Hélène Louvart
Starring: Dominik Wojcik, Elliot Paquet, Clémence Boisnard, Samuel Mercer, Mathilde Bisson, Niels Schneider, Luc Chessel, Arnaud Rebotini, Cécilia Ranval
67 mins