What You Need To Know:
(H, Ac, Ho, L, V, SS, N, A, M) Humanist worldview with homosexual & anti-communist elements; 7 obscenities, 2 profanities & 5 vulgarities; brief violence during a fist fight; two teen boys hugging, homosexual activity implied & heterosexual lovemaking briefly depicted; momentary female nudity; and, alcohol use & teenagers smoking.
WILD REEDS, winner of four Cesars (the French equivalent to the Oscar), with its long takes and fluid, European style, may not appeal to the broad American market, but does offer a well done, slower paced film. If one is willing to look past the pagan worldview, director/writer Andre Techine tells a sensitive story of four French teenagers dealing with passions and prejudices on both individual and national levels. Francois is trapped between his gay infatuation for Serge and a platonic (and sometimes romantic) love for Maite. Henri provokes many hard feelings with his caustic encounter but also provides a catalyst which brings all to self-examination.
All the actors, even those portraying minor characters, give excellent performances. With a script that could have easily allowed actors to go over the top, Techine’s casting choices and direction were on the mark. Technically, WILD REEDS is a striking impressionistic film because of its many pastoral scenes, melding of color, and shallow focus. The story makes several good points, but while stressing loyalty, friendship and self-discovery, the film’s pagan worldview also deems premarital sex and homosexuality acceptable.