Jeune Et Jolie: Film review - precious little irony or humour here

(15) François Ozon, 95 mins Starring: Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot

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The Independent Culture

François Ozon's motives in making this film are as inscrutable as those of his teenage heroine Isabelle (Marine Vacth). She's a very bright 17-year-old girl from an impeccably bourgeois background who, for reasons Ozon doesn't even begin to make clear, decided to embark on a part-time career as a teenage prostitute. She doesn't meet the money. Her encounters give her little pleasure.

At first, you suspect that Ozon is being satirical or surrealistic – making an Adrian Mole-style riposte to Buñuel's Belle de Jour in which he can mock the hypocrisy of the middle classes.

There is precious little irony or humour here. It is instructive to compare Marine Vacth's vapid performance with those of the infinitely more expressive two leads in Blue Is The Warmest Colour.

Whether because of Ozon's direction or her own limited acting style, she shows no emotion about anything. When an elderly client dies during lovemaking or when she is confronted by her bewildered mother, she remains the same utterly impassive presence.

The Françoise Hardy songs and chic settings give the film the feel of an upmarket shampoo commercial.