7.6/10
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Wild Reeds (1994)

Les roseaux sauvages (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 10 May 1995 (USA)
In a village in the Southwest of France, 1962. Maite and Francois are 18 years old. They are friends, not lovers. In Francois's classroom, there are Serge, whose brother has just married to... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Stéphane Rideau ...
Frédéric Gorny ...
Michèle Moretti ...
...
Eric Kreikenmayer ...
Pierre Bartolo, the Groom
Nathalie Vignes ...
Michel Ruhl ...
Fatia Maite ...
Aicha Morelli
Claudine Taulère ...
Nurse
Elodie Soulinhac ...
Colette, Girl at Party
Dominique Bovard ...
Guard
Monsieur Simonet ...
Guard
Chief Officer Carre ...
Officer
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Storyline

In a village in the Southwest of France, 1962. Maite and Francois are 18 years old. They are friends, not lovers. In Francois's classroom, there are Serge, whose brother has just married to try to escape from the war in Algeria, and Henri, a pied-noir (Algerian-born Frenchman). Francois and Serge will have a homosexual relationship, but Serge wants to marry his brother's wife... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wild Reeds  »

Box Office

Gross:

$917,915 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After his brother's funeral, Serge is speaking with Maïté, and he tells her that he likes her hair because it reminds him of Françoise Hardy. Hardy is a French singer and actress, more famous for her singing, whose first recordings were released in 1962, which is the time setting for this film, when Hardy would have been approximately the same age as the main characters, 18 years old. One of her first recordings, "Tous les garçons et les filles" was a major hit in France in 1962, selling over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record. Even though there was a reference to Hardy in the script, Hardy's songs were not part of the sound track, and she did not appear in the film (her first acting credit was the following year, 1963). See more »

Goofs

One of the songs featured at the party which Maïté and François go to after the movie is "Barbara Ann" by The Beach Boys, which was recorded and released in the fall of 1965, a full three years after the 1962 time setting for this movie. See more »

Quotes

Henri Mariani: Give blow jobs instead of sermons. You'd be more honest and useful.
See more »

Connections

References Through a Glass Darkly (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring)
by Johann Strauss
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User Reviews

 
Sexual coming of ager
27 May 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The slightly loose and episodic feel of this charming coming-of-ager doesn't matter because the characters and the conflicts are so well presented that we are enthralled throughout.

Three boys on the verge of manhood (with the French-Algerian conflict smoldering in the background) are in residence at a boarding school in the south of France in 1962. One is gay, the second is bi-sexual and the third is straight. Through their interactions we (and they) discover their sexuality.

Francois Forestier, played attractively by Gael Morel, is gay as he discovers one night when Serge Bartolo (Stephane Rideau), an athletic schoolmate with a natural style, awakens his sexuality by seducing him. For Serge it is just a school age sexual adventure; for Francois it is love so intense he is transformed. The third boy, Henri Mariana, who is from Algeria, is a little older and a little more cynical. He finds heterosexual love with his enemy, Maité Alverez, who is a hated communist. Elodie Bouchez, whom I recall from The Dreamlife of Angels (1998) for which she shared a Cannes Best Actress award, plays Maité whose style is earnest, witty and brave.

As it happens I was in France during the period of this film, and a teenager as well. The Algerian conflict haunted the young men because as soon as they were of age they could be sent away to fight. Also the Communist Party was strong in France and an attraction to some who opposed what they saw as French colonialism in Algeria and Vietnam. Director André Téchiné who characteristically explores human sexuality in his films (e.g., Rendez-Vous (1985) with a young and vital Juliette Binoche; Le lieu du crime (1986) with Catherine Deneuve; and Ma Saison Préférée (1993) also starring Catherine Deneuve) attempts to integrate these larger issues into his film but I don't think is entirely successful. Serge's older brother is killed in Algeria and his teacher blames herself for not helping him to escape his military service and suffers a nervous breakdown. However this story is not well-connected with the rest of the film. Also more could have been done with the divergent views of Maité and Henri. What I loved was the club scene where suddenly the French girls are twisting to Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again" which propelled me back to 1962 when indeed the Twist was all the rage in France.

What makes this film superior is the warm and truthful way in which the sexual awakenings are realized. The kids seem absolutely real and the dialogue is sharp and authentic. Morel is very winning. I especially liked the earnest way he confronts and then accepts his sexuality. Interesting was the scene in which he seeks out the shoe salesman whom he knows is gay for his advice on how he should cope with unrequited homosexual love.

This is a film about young people for open-minded adults attractively done. For many it will strike a strong cord of recognition.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


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