Baden Baden

This vigorously inventive French import shows up America's young-folks-kinda-maybe-starting-to-get-it-together comedies as the pre-fab product they are. Writer-director Rachel Lang, in her feature debut, strips away all formula and falseness from this story of a vibrantly aimless Ana (Salomé Richard) bumbling through her twenties. This is a prickly examination of wandering and wondering, of taking on projects and lovers unlikely to work out, of feeling toward a place in a world that's not inclined to make any room for you. And it's about fucking up, of course, as all kinda-maybe-starting-to-get-it-together comedies must be, but never in a farcical setpiece way. Lang is uncommonly assured for a first-time director, capturing her scenes in fluid master takes, rarely cutting from one character to the next, letting her scenes unfold at the pace of in-the-moment human feeling.

A trio of boys evince varying levels of romantic interest in Ana, but her sights are set on the most aloof and successful, the one who won't wear a condom; her grandmother suffers a fall, and Ana visits her in the hospital and at physical therapy; Ana assigns herself the duty of refurbishing that grandmother's bathtub; Ana chats with friends, breaks bad news to her mother, babysits, drives too fast in her rented Porsche. The looseness of plotting juxtaposes in fascinating ways with Lang's rigorous staging and framing. The film suggests actual listless years of near adulthood, where each day's shape and emphasis is a surprise, where you can't tell which dumb things you do are the ones that might matter later.

Director:

  • Rachel Lang

Cast:

  • Salomé Richard
  • Claude Gensac
  • Lazare Gousseau
  • Swann Arlaud
  • Olivier Chantreau
  • Jorijn Vriesendorp
  • Noémie Rosset

Writer:

  • Rachel Lang

Baden Baden is not showing in any theaters in the area.

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