BANG GANG (A MODERN LOVE STORY) (France/IFI/98mins)
Directed by Eva Husson. Starring Finnegan Oldfield, Marilyn Lima, Lorenzo Lefébvre, Daisy Broom, Fred Hotier, Manuel Husson, Olivia Lancelot.
THE PLOT:
It’s a summer of 69s for a bunch of young French teenagers, who turn a free house into a den of sex orgies, as George sleeps with Alex, and Laetitia (Lima) sleeps with Alex, and George sleeps with Gabriel. In the heat of all the lust, jealousy and shrugs, Laetitia finds herself become a porn site hit, her first flush of sex turning another shade of depressing gay when she discovers that, whilst the rest of the gang have been busy catching various sexual diseases, she’s managed to contract the deadliest sexual disease of all – pregnancy.
THE VERDICT: Revolution is in the air for a bunch of French teenagers over one long, hot summer, but, given their relatively bourgeois lives, it’s sexual rather than political upheaving that they’re interested in. Modern love, after all, is warped somewhat by a culture where sexual promiscuity and nudity are seen as potent tools on social media, and an ever-increasing mainstream path to stardom. Or, at the very least, notoriety.
Larry Clark’s ‘Kids’ given a mildly modern twist, and some impeccable French taste – on-screen nudity just seems classier with subtitles – ‘Gang Bang’ may wear its perfectly-pert arse on its sleeve, but it still feels like indie porn, all air-brushed and aimless. Which, of course, may be all about reflecting the wide-eyed, narrow-minded teenager perspective, but this is still just arse for art’s sake.
RATING: 2/5
Review by Paul Byrne

Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)
Review by Paul Byrne
2.0air-brushed & aimless
  • filmbuff2011

    With a title like Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story), one would expect something provocative and racy. It’s only partially true of this French film, which takes a (possibly) modern view of teenage relationships.

    Teenager Laetitia (Daisy Broom) is a virgin who fancies Alex (Finnegan Oldfield). But he’s more interested in her friend George (Marilyn Lima). Alex is a bit of a player and sleeps around, so he inevitably seduces George. Later on, he moves onto Laetitia, prompting jealousy between the two friends. So, while Laetitia is off with Alex, George proposes some dares to her other friends. Dares that quickly turn sexual. Soon, this gang of teenagers are meeting up at random times for orgies. Laetitia starts to fall for Alex, but is he more interested in love than sex? Or is he just confusing the two?

    Actor and writer Eva Husson adds another string to her bow, by turning director for Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story). The end credits state that it’s apparently based on true events, though you’ll have to look quickly for it as it flashes by. There’s an element of whether a story like this could really happen. Or maybe it just happens in France. For this is a very French film, exquisitely shot and scored with some stylistic flourishes which add to the feeling of a summer that doesn’t want to end. The film isn’t as racy as one would imagine, shot artfully and tastefully by Husson and her cinematographer Mattias Troelstrup. More is suggested than is actually shown. It’s a delicate slice of teenage life, with the characters stepping out of their teens and into adulthood – even if their parents think otherwise.

    Inevitably, there are faults in the film. A STD sub-plot in the film is meant to be a cautionary note about the dangers of casual sex, but Husson quickly moves past it without much emotional impact or any real attempt to be thought-provoking. And for a film that claims to be a modern love story, where’s the love? Not once does anyone say those three magic words. Maybe it becomes irrelevant, as this is a film about sexual choices rather than about falling in love. Had this been an American film, directed by Larry Clark, it might have been more challenging. Despite that, Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) is consistently entertaining and evocative of teenage life in a way that the French only know. ***