a film by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau
2008 | 173 mins | France
›› Born in 68 - Nés en 68
a compelling mix of politics, love and sex.
Born in 68 by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau Cue the infamous Parisian demonstrations of 1968 and a time when a group of student revolutionaries find their lives turned upside down, dodging the police alongside the draft board. Loving each other, as much as life itself, Catherine, Yves and Hervé, together with others of liberal mind leave the troubles of the capital behind for a communal life in an abandoned farmhouse in Lot, along the way making friends with neightbours Serge and his wife Maryse.

Only theirs will be a friendship that will stand the test of time, as seventeen years later Serge and Maryse come to realise that their son Christophe has fallen for the handsome physique of Catherine's son Boris. Only this is now the mid-eighties, a period when many were not only fighting against those indifferent to the onset of AIDS, but literally for life itself.

Yes you've guessed it. For having waited for what seems like all too long for the latest Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau feature to arrive on-screen, here it is in epic proportions. Thankfully the wait has been well worth it, for once again they captivate you with a dramatic work that in this instance is as high on politics, as it is on emotion. Yet in many ways its 'we'll love each other till death do us part' subtitle could have been replaced by the words 'Catherine's story,' given this is at heart the story of her life and lovers, from Yves, Hervé and later Antoine, to the trials of her children; son Boris and daughter Ludmilla and in turn her own highs and lows with her Iranian boyfriend Farivar. Then again, it is also the tale of Catherine's brother Michel and of those who come and go in her commune style home, as friendships dissolve when political ideology gives way to a desire for the very bourgeois lifestyle that they were supposedly opposed to.

Born in 68 by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau To that end and whilst Yannick Renier as Yves and Yann Trégouët as Hervé are on fine form throughout, it is Laetitia Casta as Catherine who dominates this feature, her inner beauty shining through all the layers of make-up that are gradually applied to reflect the aging process. That her character is the matriarch of the piece goes without saying, setting the scene for others, as in real life, to turn up when you least expect, only for some to exit stage left never to be seen again.

For just as historical events and French leaders take to the cinematic stage to reflect the current political climate, here '60s flower power fades away to give stark contrast to the '80s 'silence = death' campaign, courtesy of the second half bond between pretty boys Théo (One Day in Summer) (Weekend in the Countryside) Frilet as Boris and Edouard (Cockles & Muscles) Collin as his lover Christophe, scenes that tap into the emotional well, given you are only too aware that one of them, amongst others, is destined not to make it to the closing reel.

Originally produced as a set of two French telemovies, to be hereby edited into a whole, no surprise to learn that some of the points raised resonate more in its home country, with PACS being of particular note to those who fought for the right of gay civil union in France. Yet in showcasing political hopes and a heartfelt desire to love each other in peace - whatever your sexuality be, Ducastel and Martineau have delivered their most ambitious work to date, one that vividly demonstrates how the baton of political and social justice is passed from one generation to the next. Totally engaging, touching and utterly compelling. Need more be said?
screened as part of the 23rd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2009
UK Cinema Release - 25th September 2009
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue
starring: Laetitia Casta, Yannick Renier, Yann Trégouët, Christine Citti, Marc Citti, Sabrina Seyvecou, Théo Frilet, Edouard Collin,
Kate Moran, Gaëtan Gallier, Fejria Deliba, Slimane Yefsah, Matthias Van Khache, Osman Elkharraz, Thibault Vinçon
and with the participation of Marilyne Canto as Dominique, Alain Fromager as Antoine,
Sophie Barjac as Catherine's mother and Pierre-Loup Rajot as Catherine's father
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #229
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