Do we ever forget our first love? Are we ever able to leave them and the memories that we keep of them?

In Mia Hansen-Love’s Goodbye, First Love, we meet 15-year-old Camille (beautifully played by Lola Créton), who is youthfully romantic and deeply in love and lust with 19-year-old Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky). Their relationship is dramatic and tender.

With Sullivan’s desire to go overseas, Camille is left emotionally fraught at the possibility of his departure. In autumn, he departs, leaving Camille to make sense of his abandonment.

Four years later, Camille is living by herself and studying to be an architect. Void of emotion and still yearning for Sullivan, she drifts along in life.

On a class excursion, she finds herself becoming enamoured with her teacher (Magne-Havard Brekke) who reciprocates Camille’s intentions. Soon the two develop a stable relationship.

All is going well until Sullivan re-emerges three years later and Camille is thrown into lust again, pining for her first love and the memory she attaches to him. Once again she feels the passion associated with Sullivan but is it enough to keep him tied to her or will he leave again to live his own life away from her?

Mia Hansen-Love has written and directed a film that explores the emotional weight and experience of first love. Her use of language is rich and sentimental and sustains a poetic credence throughout the film.

In addition, the cinematography captures the alluring beauty of the French countryside, the exquisite Parisian settings and the stunning European locations with splendour.

Un Amour de Jeunesse will be an indulgence for lovers of cinema and for those who remember what it was like to fall in love for the first time. I give it 3.5/5

Toronto International Film Festival 2011: Contemporary World Cinema

Locarno International Film Festival 2011: Special Mention

INFO: Kylan Luke-McKeen is a Star Observer contributor. His website is at www.kylanmckeen.com

Goodbye, First Love (Un Amour de Jeunesse)
110 mins
Rating: M
Director: Mia Hansen-Love
Writer: Mia Hansen-Love
Cast: Lola Créton, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Magne-Havard Brekke

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