By Don Simpson | June 20, 2015
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Writers: Mia Hansen-Løve, Sven Hansen-Løve
Starring: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka, Hugo Bienvenu, Vincent Lacoste, Arnaud Azoulay, Laurent Cazanave, Paul Spera, Arsinée Khanjian, Juliette Lamet, Greta Gerwig, Léa Rougeron, Laura Smet, Golshifteh Farahani, Olivia Ross
Fragmenting the timeline of the film’s protagonist — Paul (Félix de Givry) — into episodic vignettes, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden stylistically reflects the drug-addled memory of a perpetually blissed-out garage DJ [with a Parisian twist]. But despite the multiyear gaps in his narrative, Paul’s 24-hour party people lifestyle rarely changes. Beginning in November 1992, Paul’s ageless appearance cleverly reflects his stilted life, as the steady diet of drugs and alcohol has rendered his maturity stuck in an existential quagmire. Paul is frozen in a state of melancholic euphoria or euphoric melancholia, take your pick.
Based on the fuzzy remembrances of Hansen-Løve’s brother Sven, Eden fully immerses itself within the ecstasy of Paul’s nightclubbing existence. Eden captures 1990s rave culture with astounding authenticity, showcasing the sheer naiveté of it all. This is a film about an amazingly enticing nightlife that overrides any and all other stereotypical priorities and goals. Using its title as a guide, Eden contemplates a simple time of youthful innocence and great expectations. Though the DJ lifestyle seems glamorous, it is a career path that makes very few people wealthy. The success of Daft Punk (Vincent Lacoste and Arnaud Azoulay) only serves to tease Paul — as the two Parisian scenesters cannot even navigate their way past the doormen of raving nightclubs, yet they still manage to achieve international stardom.
Paul’s love interest Louise (Pauline Etienne) channels Jean Seberg, as Hansen-Løve expresses her admiration for the early films of the French New Wave; like a modern day Breathless or Jules and Jim, Eden contemplates the exuberance (and recklessness) of youth and the perceived power of hipness. Like the aforementioned Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut films, Eden studiously comments upon the bohemian intellectual nature of its protagonists. The filmmakers truly understand the cinematic universe that Eden represents, providing an alluringly transcendental (and trancelike) interpretation of the story.