“My Life With James Dean”

A French Comedy

Amos Lassen

“My Life With James Dean” is the story of filmmaker Géraud Champreux (Johnny Rasse) who has been invited to a small Northern seaside town of Le Tréport in the Normandy region of France by the local film curator to screen his latest indie film.  His trip gets off to a bad start when a young boy steals his cell phone and his host Sylvie van Rood (Nathalie Richard) is missing and the only two employees at the cinema claim to know nothing about the special screening.

Géraud checks into the local hotel and he is relieved to find out that they are expecting him, although getting the rather eccentric receptionist to help is not easy.

Back at the cinema, the film has been found and the screening goes ahead playing to an audience of just one little old lady.  What she thinks of the very explicit gay film that Géraud has made is never made as to why they are showing such a graphic film in this provincial place.

Next morning Madame van den Rood appears and is apologetic. It seems that her roller-coast love life with her girlfriend took a turn for the worse. Meanwhile, Balthazar (Mickael Pelissier) the very young cinema projectionist who Géraud had spoken with briefly has declared his undying love for the filmmaker.

Life gets even more complicated when the star of the  film also turns up to explain that his relationship with Géraud is definitely over at about the same time, Géraud learns that Balthazar is jail bait, plus the little old lady who has been seeing the movie every night, is none other than Géraud’s estranged mother. Can it get any crazier?

While the plot is both crazy and silly but it has a wonderful level of warmth throughout that makes it such a pleasure to watch. Writer/director Dominique Choisy’s film is irresistibly bizarre, at times dizzyingly romantic and erotic and at other times intense. It is also a love letter to independent cinema in France n that it is a rare film whose constant twists and turns genuinely surprise and grip you – sometimes in laughter and sometimes by the throat – up until the very last moment on screen.

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