‘Eden’ tells vibrant story of youth in French electronic music scene

A man wearing headphones intensely gazes to the top left while in front of a wall with the word "Cheer" printed on it in cursive. The picture is saturated in a red tint.
Mia Hansen Love /Courtesy

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Intimately chronicling the life of university student Paul (Félix de Givry) and the rising French electronic music scene, Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Eden” tracks the euphoric highs and the tragic lows that come with this lifestyle.

“Eden” is not a short movie nor is it a plot-focused one; instead, Hansen-Løve chooses to immerse the audience into this world with a large ensemble of authentic characters, following them over the course of 20 years. The film contains such specificity, breeding a world that evokes reality. Much of the story was based off of the experiences of the director’s brother, Sven Hansen-Løve, who co-wrote the screenplay with his sister. And with a soundtrack that features several songs by Daft Punk, the film adeptly plunges the audience into the Paris electronic music scene.

Obsessed with garage music, Paul desperately wants to be a DJ. His mom does not support this, but he is devoted to his dream and creates a DJ duo with his friend. “Eden” follows his character through his journey at an integral, transitional period in French electronic music, capturing the chaotic, energized feel of the rave scene.

Paul is the main character, but Mia Hansen-Løve is not so much interested in him as she is in how the passage of time transforms him and those around him. Explicit characterization through the use of lengthy exposition is nonexistent within the world the director has created. She allows the audience to observe these characters through the events over 20 years by making you feel like you are more than just a fly on the wall but are actually a part of their group.

The cinematography by Denis Lenoir captures the ongoing nature of the music scene and gorgeously depicts the subtle shifts over time. As Mia Hansen-Løve’s fourth feature film, “Eden” maintains her usual sense of striking intimacy while also displaying great, sweeping ambition.

Contact Julia Mears at [email protected].