‘My Golden Days’ tells the story of anthropologist Paul Dedalus, played by Mathieu Amalric, as he flashes back to his youth growing up in France. This film is a follow-up to director Arnaud Desplechin’s 1997 film, ‘My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument.’ Newcomer Quentin Dolmaire, who plays Paul in his adolescence, shines as a natural to his craft; his character is a perfect blend of charming, loveable, and broken.
Irina Lubtchansky’s cinematography focuses Desplechin’s gloomy retro past into frames that revel in the beauty of dark moments now gone. Invoking for the viewer, the knowledge that when recalling your youth, even events that seemed filled with anger and sadness, there will always be an inflection of joy in your memory; an inflection that is just happy to have the memory and to have experienced it.
The story breaks down in three episodes, the first includes his childhood in Roubaix, his mother’s attacks of madness and his father’s alienating depression. Second, his trip to the USSR, where a clandestine mission led him to offer his own identity in order to help a young Russian. Third, he remembers University life, the shifting circle of friends and their casual betrays, but most of all he remembers his tumultuous relationship with Ester, the love of his life.
At times the editing really catches you off guard. Taking away the chance for the viewer to wrap their head around a scene before jumping into another. Then in the center of the story, the relationship between Paul and Ester takes stage and sucks a lot of the life out events.
The doomed love, being an analogy drawn from his doomed relationship with his mother, and the jumpy pacing has you egging on the inevitable end to Paul and Ester.
The film premiered in the 2015 Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the SACD award. Nominated for 11 Cesar awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. ‘My Golden Days’ opens in theatres in Los Angeles and New York March 18th.