Sunday, 11 October 2015

BFI Film Festival - Bang Gang

 First film if this years' festival and just like the title, it started with a bang. Eva Husson's debut feature film, which, as she mentioned that she started writing in London at Faber & Faber workshop, is about a group of teens living in Biarritz who have parties, known as 'Bang Gang' parties where they endulge in sex, drugs, drink and enjoy their freedom to do so.
The film focuses on four teenagers, their points of view and voiceovers are what drive the film. Alex, the host of said parties who has been left in a large 'country house' alone while his mother is away for 9 months. George, the pretty blonde girl who technically instigates the 'bang gang' with a game. She has sex with guys, takes drugs without thinking but really is 'misunderstood' and just wants to find 'someone'. I may be bias in my opinion of George, but we'll get that later. Laetitia, who lives with her over protective father and just wants to experience being a teenager. Then there's Gabriel, the quiet music maker who is on the outside and seems content that way.
Each of the characters go through a change, sometimes its not for the best. The Bang Gang parties themeselves were quite graphic, naked people wandering around everywhere but this element of the film was not there to shock, but for context in how the characters react to each other. The start of the film felt like the story was going in a completely different direction, for all the characters but then it all seemed to fall into the comfort zone set up. The pretty blonde gets her happy ending with the quiet loner who liked her from afar. The arsehole changes his ways after a realisation that is just too late. The brunette who is reminded constantly through the film that she is just not as pretty as her blonde friend. She had a little more to her that wasn't always explored. But saying all this, the film, the story, was pretty damn good.
Eva Husson is a brilliant storyteller (despite my qualms of the stereotypical tropes, but this may be in the casting), everything flowed and was beautifully pictured. Even the mess of the parties was elegant and effortless. The shots of the sky in between intense and mundane moments left like a switch over of the characters or a shift in their feelings. In the Q & A, Husson mentioned that she went over the dialogue with the actors to makes sure it was the type of 'up to date' language that teens used and it showed. There have been too many films with mainly teens that just don't sound right. Another aspect that was surprising to think back on when watching the film, was that many of the actors were not actors. Everything about this film was natural, including the downfall of everyone involved in the parties.

The film has been noticed, in the right way, at quite a few festivals and I'm pleased for several reasons. First and most importantly, the film is written AND directed by a woman, it was obvious that I would mention this. Secondly, its always encouraging to see foreign films having wide coverage, thirdly because if the subject and the content.

A great start to the festival and I can't wait for the next screening and to see what Eva Husson does next.


  1. Andrew Ellington12 October 2015 at 21:02

    What a film title! This sounds good...I'll have to check it out. Have fun at the festival!

  2. Thanks Andrew! The title is pretty out there, but it does exactly what it says on the tin. Keep an eye out for it - the director is definitely one to look out for.