With Carrément à l'Ouest
Jacques Doillon returns to a favourite theme of his, the myriad complexities of relationships
between adolescents experiencing their first taste of romantic love. More than perhaps
any other it is the subject which best defines Doillon's particular brand of realist cinema,
and one in which he excels. Whilst Carrément à l'Ouest is certainly
not the best example from the Doillon stable - it lacks the depth, artistic style and
emotional force of some of his earlier achievements - it nonetheless succeeds in evoking
the vulnerability and inconsistency of young men and women as they find their feet in
the early stages of adulthood.
The film stars Lou Doillon, the daughter of Jacques Doillon and his wife Jane Birkin,
and Caroline Ducey, the star of Catherine Breillat's controversial 1999 film Romance
. The lead male role is played by Guillaume Saurrel in, surprisingly, his
first film appearance. All three actors earn distinction for their convincing performances
which are naturalistic to the extent that it's hard to believe most of the script wasn't
improvised. At times, the story feels a little implausible and the pacing a tad
leaden, but the sincerity and raw talent issuing from both sides of the camera makes it
seductively easy to engage with this latest offering from one of France's most accomplished
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