Étienne (Zaccaï) is given a digital camera for his sixteenth birthday, ostensibly to record his figure skating practice. Soon, however, the well-meaning teen is filming everything, including the da... more
Étienne (Zaccaï) is given a digital camera for his sixteenth birthday, ostensibly to record his figure skating practice. Soon, however, the well-meaning teen is filming everything, including the daily routines of his single mother, Caroline (Ariane Ascaride, also seen throughout the films of Robert Guédiguian in this year's Spotlight), his candid discussions with his best friend, Ludovic and, from a surreptitious distance, the movements of his geography teacher, Laurent. Guided by a sense of both innocent nostalgia and adolescent curiosity, he creates striking compositions out of quotidian sights, ranging from loving close-ups of his skating trophies to positively glorious images from an evening at a carnival. His camera is no passing obsession and Étienne films while entire seasons go by. Still, he does have goals – he is determined to skate in the French championship, to fall in love and to match up Laurent with his mother. However, the more he films, the less certain he becomes about his own motivations. When his plans start to overlap in unexpected ways, Étienne must deal with confusing, unbidden attractions that he cannot bring himself to express. The drama revolves around the drug dealer who landed on the FBI's most wanted list for the kidnapping and murder of a teenager whose brother owed the dealer money. The 15-year-old was lured to Santa Barbara, where he hung out with the drug dealer's associates. The thugs then hit the youth over the head with a shovel and shot him nine times. One killer got the death penalty, another a 25 years-to-life sentence. Hollywood is still at large.