Eden Screen 35 articles

Eden

2014

Eden Poster
  • Despite the pleasure of my own nostalgia being stoked—plus my delight at hearing Paradise Garage godhead Larry Levan being name-checked more than once—little in the film, save for its crushing final fifteen minutes, has much heft. Givry is a recessive screen presence, and those who orbit him, particularly the women in his life, are even more diaphanous.

  • In some respects, this bears some similarities to another biographical work, Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air. Both feature a flatness of tone, a lack of modulation of emotional register. Eden is composed of short, low-key scenes: one thing happens, then another, then another—but the film accumulates little dramatic impact as it unfolds in time.

  • The prevailing style is curiously detached. The case being made is almost either academic or strangely literal. We don’t see anybody dancing to Frankie Knuckles’s “The Whistle Song” — there’s just a shot of a record spinning as it plays. Surely that warrants a trip to movie jail. But the entire film is predicated upon a kind of artistic modesty.

  • Letterboxd: Mike D'Angelo
    June 18, 2015 | Critic's Rating: 46/100

    Mostly, I just found Eden monotonously shapeless, like a 12" single that recycles the same beat with negligible variations for what feels like eternity. The whole Life of Brian thing in which Daft Punk = Jesus works for me on paper, but Hansen-Løve doesn't seem to realize that we don't know her brother personally and are unable to project anything onto the bland void of a character she's written as his surrogate.

  • The second half has the same exact pacing as the first, but because a fall is supposed to be so much faster than a rise, this one feels torturously slower. The symmetry of the film becomes predictable, as it substitutes for the peaks of euphoria a series of flatly significant “after” shots that mirror the ones “before.”

  • It’s a sprawling canvas compared to the intimate ones of her previous films, and it somewhat suffers I think from this narrative expansion: the gentle yet intense emotional modulations from The Father of My Children and Goodbye First Love are still very much palpable here, but the story’s sundry leaps and gaps make them more diaphanous than evocative.

  • Despite its pessimism, the film does get lost in the moment whenever house pounds out of abysmally low-ended sound systems, and when Daft Punk is employed to comment on Paul's own lack of artistic breakthrough, even he can't resist the pleasures of "Da Funk" or "One More Time." Still, Hansen-Løve's primary aesthetic achievement is to capture the sense of a party dying out from fatigue. Too bad Paul's too wasted to leave at last call.

  • The narrative drift seems suited to a story in which music-making becomes a kind of self-reinforcing bubble—a feedback loop that powerfully unravels toward the film’s end. In a way, Eden makes the same point about art and perfection that Seymour Bernstein does, but with different instrumentation.

  • More than music clearances, the sheer number of scenes and locations is what gives the film its subtle grandiosity—not some epic tracking shot or showoff-y leading performance. However brief their time in Paul's orbit, the surrounding characters are often more interesting than he is, but so it often goes in life.

  • While its fluid visual style sometimes recalls “Cold Water” and other films by her husband, Olivier Assayas, the filmmaker’s confidence and skill are distinctively her own... Its weaknesses mainly stem from having a long first part and short second part, with the former playing as an evocative but sometimes monotonous and excessively long music-scene chronicle that’s centered on a surprisingly bland protagonist.

  • Where the early scenes of Eden feel on the nose, the back half is filled with precisely the sorts of glancing-yet-wounding blows that are Hansen-Love’s specialty. The power of such moments suggests that the overdetermined setups of the early scenes can be reconciled within an overall design whereby dialogue and dramatic incident gradually fall away, replaced by the half-cozy, half-unsettling feeling of a life that’s being lived mostly through muscle memory.

  • Does build up to something eventually, the slow accretion of drugs, women, parties, pounding music finally becoming indistinguishable (that's the point), especially with the joke that the people don't change but the times do (that's also the point); yet it has the same problem as Goodbye First Love imo - too soft, too ethereal.

  • With its massive soundtrack, pretty players, and Hansen-Løve’s characteristically fine eye, Eden can’t help but be amusing. Nonetheless, for me neither this nor her previous Goodbye to Love clicked... In Goodbye and Eden, years pass and seemingly nothing can be left out: every little event is deeply important. Hansen-Løve remains someone whose work should be eagerly anticipated, but this particular trajectory unnerves me.

  • Much of the music on the soundtrack was key to Sven’s musical journey, and it is almost a character in the film, growing and changing as the story progresses. Hansen-Løve has an eye for emotionally resonant color, and in Denis Lenoir’s extraordinarily filmed party and club scenes, glowing reds, blues, and greens heighten the narcotic allure that the music has for the central characters.

  • It’s easier to tell the story of a smashing success or an utter failure, because there’s drama inherent to either scenario, but what Hansen-Løve accomplishes with Eden is trickier, a feeling of being adrift in a scene where people are already invited to lose themselves to dance. What awaits on the other side? There are built-in frustrations to Eden that are difficult to shake off, but worth the effort.

  • Eden is [Hansen-Løve’s] most ambitious attempt to date at grasping what remains and what doesn’t, and if the movie lacks a consistent through-line, it’s because its chief goal is to evoke the way snippets of the past stick in the perpetual present tense of memory.

  • Eden forces a few things (Hansen-Løve insists on a clunky superimposition effect), but it’s punctuated with enough moments of genuine exuberance (Paul chasing his on-and-off again girlfriend through a water park) and humour (a critical defense of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls, a recurring Daft Punk gag) to offset its flaws. And it never feels like piteous swan song for Paul. Instead, it compassionately and finally movingly illustrates how our dreams, when stubbornly unchecked, can become shackles.

  • The 42-song soundtrack makes you want to get up and dance in the aisles, and Hansen-Løve's characteristically expert directing of actors creates a naturalist, convincing world well worth visiting.

  • [Eden is] a film whose opening—I think deliberately disorienting—gives the viewer very little to get a handle on, but which in the course of two hours arrives somewhere that is quite moving... I don’t believe Paul ever appears alone until the film’s somber and sober final shot, and when he does, the volume of this aloneness is deafening.

  • Hansen-Løve wrote the screenplay with her brother, Sven, a former DJ. His intimate knowledge of the character and the scene, in conjunction with her precise, unhurried method of filmmaking, makes for an amazingly poignant, affective work. With such deliberate pacing, by the time Paul is able to emote, by the time he has the ability to view his life from a slight remove, we can be there with him when he reveals his naked soul.

  • [Hansen-Løve’s] most ambitious film to date favors her signature two-part structure to queasily haunting effect. While the first half lulls you into submission with its bright lights and big promises, the second is a monumental comedown.

  • It’s remarkable for being a story of music, nightclubs and drugs so unromantic, that it’s not even anti-romantic. It’s anti-climax is slow, skillful and witty. The 33-year-old Hansen-Løve is one the most interesting directors in France now.

  • The film expertly shows the subtlety of growth—or the lack thereof. Paul’s youthful naïveté shifts from sincere to loathsome so deftly that it comes as something of a shock. Suddenly, the ingénue wakes up a narcissist, blaming everyone but himself for his position. Time is cyclical, history is bound to repeat itself, time is a flat circle… Eden ignores these common conceptions of time. Instead, Hansen-Løve crafts a film that explores its immobility.

  • Radically, EDEN's story is told less through plot and dialogue than in the gospel-influenced lyrics of the wall-to-wall soundtrack, stylistically constrained to express love, heartbreak, isolation, and communion.

  • Even if you know nothing about techno, let alone garage, Hansen-Løve's exploration of the ways music can nourish you or swallow you whole is instantly, perhaps painfully, recognizable. A quiet, raggedly beautiful mini-epic, Eden isn't a success story; it's a failure story. But it's also a glittering acknowledgement of the fact that failing is the only path toward growing.

  • Mia Hansen-Løve’s beguiling Eden blooms into a touching reflection on the dialectics between life, memory, and culture, reaching a depth beyond the apparent reach of the metrical signatures of its chosen music.

  • Even if you don’t care for, or know much about, Nineties house music, the Hansen-Løves’ collaboration evokes a sense of musical euphoria that I defy you to remain unmoved by—not least in the end credits sequence in which, long after the idyll has crumbled, we flash back to Paul and Louise in their childlike prime dancing to C. Dock’s exuberant “Happy Song.”

  • Spanning two decades and many terrific tunes, this fourth feature from the French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love rides its techno-sonic wave with a restless intelligence. Restrained but never tentative, remote yet enormously affecting, the movie’s evocation of artistic compulsion is accomplished with confidence and verve.

  • "Eden" is long, but Hansen-Love's style is so observant and specific that it is always a compelling watch and ends up being sneakily profound. It also features one of the best soundtracks in recent memory, a history lesson of club music. The film is quite personal, despite its slow and insistent historical sweep.

  • The drifty, ethereal tone of Eden slowly envelops you, and it is one reason why the film, as understated as it is, remains so hard to shake. Hansen-Løve captures both the appeal and the curse of this subculture, the lotus-eater-like wasting away that comes with a life spent pursuing pleasure.

  • Eden may feel like an epic, but only for its density of detail. Hansen-Løve plunges the viewer into Paul's world, rarely providing any background information about the music he plays or the people he meets—call it an epic made from the inside out.

  • ++

    Sight & Sound: Catherine Wheatley
    July 03, 2015 | August 2015 Issue (pp. 70-71)

    For all that [Eden and Somewhere] share an astute attention to surface, Hansen-Løve's film beds down deeper in its milieu than Coppola's did. The result is a glorious celebration of the 90s dance scene which, like Hansen-Løve's breakthrough feature Father of My Children, asks poignant questions about the struggle involved in doing what we love.

  • Rich emotions are made manifest through minor details, and where Hansen-Løve’s intricate and intuitive construction mode might evade conspicuous payoffs, it’s the things that are not happening and the people who are not there that are often the most important.

  • Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden is about many things, any one of them a surprising, esoteric and rather brave subject for a film. Specifically, it’s about the developments in rave culture from the early 1990s to the present. It’s about lives tumbling along as the years drift by, never conforming to the plot you’re expecting to kick in. It’s about the thrill of being a DJ: the moment when you try out a new cut, a roomful of sweaty people writhing below you, and watch the beat being transmitted into dance.

  • Despite the soap-opera potential of some of her material, Hansen-Løve roots these moments within the everyday, so that the emotion is hitched to a stream of non-dramatic but vital moments... By choosing to focus on what happens around the dramatic moment... she offers something that feels very much like life: things happen, we think we might break, we make a small gesture toward change and, eventually, the intensity passes – even as the echo of the past resonates through each new action.

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