The new film from director Charlotte Le Bon falcon lake was inspired by the graphic novel One sister (A sister) by Bastien Vives. Le Bon uses the landscapes he was familiar with in his childhood, the Laurentians regions northwest of Montreal, as a new setting for the story and the result is a rewarding coming-of-age film where latent desires are gradually found. This deeply nuanced film, which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, uses a teenage crush as its starting point, dispensing with the shocking fright nights that typically populate a lakeside cabin story.
That being said, the moment you lay eyes on that cabin, your mind is already expecting the worst. what a scare it is It’s worn. There is no electricity. Who would stay there for a getaway? But 13-year-old Bastien (Joseph Engel) and his French-speaking family must call it home for a while.
It is here that Bastien meets 16-year-old Chloé (Sara Montpetit), the brusque daughter of his mother’s (Monia Chokri) best friend, Louise (Karine Gonthier-Hyndman). Suddenly, Bastien and her younger brother (Thomas Laperrière) must share a bedroom with Chloé, whose penchant for acting out death scenes and suggesting that she sometimes “feels” the presence of ghosts becomes curiously appealing.
No blood, lots of intrigue
falcon lake is the first feature film by director Charlotte Le Bon. She reportedly wanted to tweak the source material enough for her main lead, Bastien, to be challenged in her vacation setting. He speaks French. Most of the other kids around the lake don’t. But there’s something about Chloé that he can’t escape. For starters, she’s older. But there is a little more there. There is actually a “there” in Chloé, and Bastien’s curiosity grows. Chloe’s too. The girl can choose from a handful of handsome teenagers vacationing around the lake, but in Bastien she finds, at first, an unlikely comrade and kind of spirit mate. Friends who soon become.
Le Bon, who also wrote the screenplay, delights in surprising his audiences with soft scares, while suggesting that perhaps something more terrifying lurks just around the corner. What a joke it is, sort of like a teenage crush headed somewhere, or maybe nowhere. Something stirs. In this case, it’s all about creative juices. One could easily tire of a nagging temptation that seemingly leads nowhere, but there’s something about Le Bon’s writing and directing that keeps you interested in how things play out for Bastien and Chloé.
In that sense, it is important to note that the film was shot on 16mm. The result gives this output a refreshingly subtle and sometimes surprising aesthetic that digital wouldn’t allow. It adds to the general curiosity put into play here. If there’s any gore in this movie, it’s below the surface, where the emotions of these teens simmer. Then settle, then boil again. Oh, youth.
An inventive coming-of-age story
No one will blame you if you find yourself making comparisons to call me by your name here. That standout 2017 Oscar-nominated film, which gave us Timothée Chalamet and a pre-scandal Armie Hammer, stood out for its luscious pacing and the rich emotional underworld it explored in an unlikely romance. falcon lake it is like that to a degree, and as the film enters its final act, there’s something wonderfully captivating about Bastien and Chloé that you just can’t shake. Joseph Engel and Sara Montpetit are excellent young actors. They lose themselves in these roles. We care about what happens to them.
When Bastien’s slight but significant betrayal of Chloé makes its way into the script, you wonder where the story is headed. What a pleasant surprise it is to see Le Bon move through these moments, effectively capturing the pain and vulnerability of adolescents. And surely, audiences will relate to Bastien’s discomfort in a new situation, especially feeling like an outsider among all the “cool” kids.
the first minutes of falcon lake it will definitely catch you. But the last 10 will blow your mind. Everything from the writing and the ways in which Le Bon captures these final moments is the work of a masterful professional. It’s hard to believe this is the director’s first effort. For most of the movie, you’re watching Bastien and Chloé connect more deeply, and if there’s any doubt as to whether or not they’ll continue down that path, the final shot will find you sitting there, gaping. Bravo.
falcon Lake, from Yellow Veil Pictures, is screening in select theaters.