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Falcon Lake (Quinzaine Des Réalisateurs Film Review)

2 min read

Still Courtesy - Memento International

For those who haven't experienced the simmering sunlight of a Quebecois summer evening, there always tends to be an eerie presence found within the French Canadian foothills. Amongst the local archipelago, there's a radiant humidity to the environment; as the cicadas continuously blare their songs of incoherence. The teens party, the adults sleep, and the flora & fauna of the region grow in harmonious synchronicity. A celebration of the mystery and eroticism in which these areas of intense forestation provoke, the directorial feature debut from can be best described as sensual. Nearly every frame of its 4:3 coming-of-age odyssey radiates a tinge of heat; the distance between human bodies slowly colliding with naturalistic blocking. Partly effective and engrossing due to the committed cast of relative newcomers, Le Bon's keen passion for emulating the right amount of teenaged vernacular and slang provides dimension to the central love story. The end-product is a youthful cinematic recount of young love; both tragic and familiar. 

If anything, the film is riddled with intimate texture. Through the bustling wilderness, we relinquish our memories of bunkbeds, Hitchcock posters, abandoned sofa-seats, headphones, juice boxes, and Nintendo Switches. Falcon Lake is remarkably one of the first films in recent memory to tackle a uniquely Gen Z-routed love-story; a film less obsessed with the artefacts of our current generation, yet rather the shift of norms between technology and nature. By the glistening lake, they speak of ghosts and other miscellaneous fantasies. Their parents speak of tax evasion. Our two lovers, Chloé & Bastien, begin to incite the typical romantic sparks one would expect from a casual Summer outing. 

Still Courtesy – Memento International

The air is stringent, the water flows, and the bond between the two adolescent sweethearts gently consumes their kingdom of lackadaisical reckoning. A prevalent usage of shadows and diegetic sound adds suspense & titillation to their relationship. It isn't until an obligatory third-act conflict, where the film concludes with a conventional end-note. Le Bon's detailed direction swoons with articulate backstrokes within its opening acts — where in contrast, the finale drowns in shallow waters. The shift in structure, while necessary, falls for the same stereotypical conventions which Le Bon initially prevents from tackling. 

Falcon Lake's conclusive note, a continuation and legacy of Chloé's ghost-story fantasia, is an undeniably beautiful tie-in to their journey and internal conflict. Through effective montage, Le Bon saves her rocky third act with a moment of grace. The sea of surrounding trees cut with the motion of Bastien's run; signifying an intervention between fantasy and reality. That's what love is after all. As written in the official festival programme notes for Falcon Lake, Le Bon's claims that the film is both a love story and a ghost story — an intimate never-ending fantasy.

Still Courtesy – Memento International
Falcon Lake premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival, as part of the Director's Fortnight sidebar.