Hair Under the Roses 2000
Du poil sous les roses (original title)
1h 25min | Comedy | 1 November 2000 (France)
The discovery of sexuality through the eyes of a group of teenagers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Neither conventional and visibly commercial like the American films on the same subject nor intoxicated with quizzical symbolism in the art movie style(which,even dealing with the earthy,violent age of puberty can often not refrain from turning it into an intricate parable). Nothing of this in here;just average french teens laid bare,with all their loads of desire and frustration. For instance:a 15-year old girl is eagerly awaiting…her breast growth,while two boys are persistently preoccupied with…boys’stuff. Roudoudou(brilliantly acted by Julie Durand,which really looks like in her puberty years,even with all the ugliness and less feminine looks puberty tempoarily brings up,in and to the female body;unlike in the American Pie series and other such sort of Hollywood products where the female characters are all portrayed by adult and extremely gorgeous actresses,suggesting that every average American girl is already in her puberty a starlet or society-lady)is desperately seeking sex,being tormented by the eagerness to lose her virginity,while Romain(Alexis Rocoult,another very young and very convincing actor,acting naturally,without the pretense of high-minded art)is caught up in homo-erotic games with his best friend,while their mothers live together in a supposedly lesbian love-affair, the boys try to reform them : each one of them is trying to seduce his best pal’s mother. Sharp,ironically and witty the film displays wild parties,homo-and heterosexuality-in its various ways of expression,dirty talk,impossible love,visits at the shrink and the gynecologist,never pornographic or didactic. Eventually Roudoudou and Romain get together and have sex,but their relation ship is not romantically idealized(like American cinema did since Splendor in The Grass and Love Story down to American Pie 1-3),not even the sexual chemistry between them is excellent,we can only guess if they’ll stick together in future(a very intelligent open ending,even in real life we can’t certainly predict how a relationship is going to evolve,especially not at such a moody,changing age). My compliments to French(and generally European)cinema:puberty is the age where most of us come closest to sexuality,hormones,homo-(and every kind of)eroticism,body fluids,confusing feelings and this movie shows everything.Paricullarly interesting(and awkward for anyone who isn’t French)is the way non-sexual nudity is generously displayed:in one scene you can see Roudoudou’s entire family(father,mother,brother)naked in the bathroom,all attending to very natural functions,yet without seaming offensive or incestuous,just natural-they don’t do it,just one takes a shower,another one shaves,another one… Julie Durand did a good job as a frustrated teen:both her looks and her acting style somewhat reminding of Betty Davis as the submissive,neurotic,unattractive Charlotte Vale in Now,Voyager or Matilda Ziegler as Miss Irma Gobb Mr.Bean’s(very ambiguous&androgynous)girlfriend.
Directors: Jean-Julien Chervier, Agnès Obadia
Writers: Jean-Julien Chervier, Agnès Obadia
Stars: Julie Durand, Alexis Roucout, Alice Houri
Country: France | Luxembourg
Language: French | English
Release Date: 1 November 2000 (France)
Also Known As: Hair Under the Roses
Filming Locations: Dudelange, Luxembourg