Writer-director Suzanne Lindon’s (daughter of Sandrine Kiberlain and Vincent Lindon) dazzling directorial debut once again proves that there’s nothing more romantic than Parisian cafés and sun-bleached boulevards. 16-year-old Suzanne (Lindon) is bored with her life. She’s tired of school and her classmates; she’s an old soul who doesn’t fit in with people her own age. Then one day she spots 30-something actor Raphael (Arnaud Valois) sitting outside a theatre she passes every day. Her curiosity soon turns into adoration as the pair strike up a tender relationship in this coming-of-age tale drawn from Lindon’s own experiences.
Raphael, like Suzanne, is tired. The repetitiveness of his job has disconnected him from his cast mates and the enjoyment he has for his craft. He’d rather spend his evenings dining and dancing with someone half his age than join his friends for a drink. Both characters are introduced in the same manner, sat at a table surrounded by peers, wishing they were somewhere else. The pair are kindred spirits whose bond seemingly knows no bounds, and, though their companionship is never portrayed as sexual, the age gap is the uncomfortable elephant in the room. Both seem to be aware of it (Suzanne tearfully confesses in one scene that she’s fallen for an “adult”) but are unwilling or unable to address it.
Though a sense unease is never far away, the success of Lindon’s debut is rooted in its euphoric highs, brought about by the pair’s connection. Whether they’re listening to music outside a café, slow dancing at a party or simply sharing an empty stage, Lindon gives the smaller moments of intimacy the most importance, emphasising them with surprising dance sequences that are as quirky as they are touching.
Suzanne and Raphael’s fleeting romance isn’t physical, it’s founded upon a deep understanding that can only come from discussing music and books in the spring streets of Montmartre. Their affair is also a means for them to rediscover themselves and fit back in with their worlds. But this nuanced reflection is almost lost entirely in the rushed conclusion. Key scenes are delivered in rapid succession insofar as their significance can be easily missed if one isn’t prepared for the sudden change in pace. Nevertheless, Lindon’s debut is a refreshing and thoughtful spin on the coming-of-age tale.
Spring Blossom does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Glasgow Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Glasgow Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Spring Blossom here: