Saturday, March 05, 2016

“Bang Gang”– Movie Review



This week, I attended a screening at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s French Film Festival and saw the new drama “Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)”. 


When a group of privileged high school students engage in sexual experimentation, what impact will this have on the rest of their lives?


This was a summer the students at one Biarritz, France high school would surely never forget for the rest of their lives – for better or worse.  Laetitia is in her Junior Year, but her curiosity about boys is increasing as she steadily matures; this is something she shares with her best friend George, a gorgeous blonde who may have the name of a boy, but definitely would never be confused for one.  They have befriended some of the male classmates in whom they’re interested – specifically, Alex, Nikita and Gabriel.  Gradually, they spend an increasing amount of time together; since Gabriel is the shyer of the group, Alex and Nikita get more of the girls’ attention.

Alex develops something of an attraction to George and they eventually hook-up; Laetitia is somewhat interested in him, too, but the feeling isn’t exactly mutual – at least not at this point, anyway.  With Alex’s mother out of town for long stretches of time, he decides to throw parties for his schoolmates and it doesn’t take too long for things to get a little crazy.  By now, he’s starting to lose interest in George; feeling rejected, she seeks out male attention from other party guests by inventing a game she comes to call “Bang Gang” – essentially, a sex party. 

These Bang Gang parties become all the rage and Alex throws them with increasing frequency; soon, they come to include excesses in not only sex, but also alcohol and drugs.  Everything gets out of hand when explicit sex videos of George start appearing online and she becomes notorious among the other students at school.  Gabriel, the more sensitive of the bunch, is deeply in love with George, so he gets the videos taken down from the Web site.  But by then, it may be too late.  When an outbreak of venereal disease causes every student at the school to be tested, what impact will this have on their school and family life? 


Certainly a rush to judgment could be made when it comes to assessing “Bang Gang” – but to just write it off as being merely an exploitation flick would be both undeserved and a mistake.  Yes, there are definitely plenty of opportunities to admire the flesh of many nubile young women (including and especially that of  Marilyn Lima, a real stunner, who plays George) – in fact, as a foreign film, it will be interesting to see if this flies under the radar of Mr. Skin.  Where it elevates itself is in the overarching sense of gloom and doom that hovers above all of the supposed merriment. 

The pervasive sense of dread and misery throughout the story is palpable for the viewer, despite the fact that the main characters appear to be either immune or oblivious to such things, for the most part.  As examples, some scenes contain news reports on the television or radio about deaths and severe injuries from train derailments and widespread fires; there is the hardship one family suffers as they must care for a quadriplegic father; also, the occasional violent storms that either interrupt or punctuate the good times of these teenagers. 

“Bang Gang” is the first feature film directed by Eva Husson, who also wrote the screenplay; while the movie may be flawed in some minor ways, it is nevertheless a fine debut effort for long-form filmic storytelling.  Husson is definitely a filmmaker worth considering as a serious, meaningful director who deserves being allowed the opportunity to further develop her craft; her future work could be quite promising.  The film also introduces us to the beautiful Marilyn Lima, whose performance of the adolescent George is as seductive as it is distressing.   

Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) (2015) on IMDb

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