One of the rites of passage in the teenage years is to fall in love. In Spring Blossom we watch a young woman who doesn’t feel at ease with her peers begin an infatuation with an older man, who has his own issues about fitting in. Together they enter into a relationship that we know is doomed in the long run, but we marvel at the tenderness of it.
Suzanne (Suzanne Lindon, who also wrote and directed the film) is sixteen years old and something of a wallflower. Even when she goes to a teen party (which is rarely) she finds it all boring. School is much the same. One day walking between home and school, she notices a man at the small theatre. Each time she sees him she is a bit more interested, and in time he notices her as well.
Raphaël (Arnaud Valois) is part of a small acting company. He is becoming bored with the repetition of doing the same play night after night. When he notices Suzanne’s attention, it serves as a break in the monotony. At 35 we know he’s much too old for Suzanne, but she feeds something in his ego, and their combined boredom becomes the basis of their relationship.
As the relationship develops, we may expect Raphaël to take advantage of the young naïve girl, but throughout he acts with tenderness. The growing intimacy we see between them is shown through a series of dances. The first is a solo dance by Suzanne that exemplifies the joy of the first flush of young love. Then there are three dances involving the two of them: first sitting at a table at a café and moving in unison to music, then a brief pas de deux, and finally a slow dance in a club. Those dances serve almost as pseudo sex scenes, which tempers our fears about the age difference.
The film’s superb sense of reality is based in the fact that Lindon began writing the screenplay when she was fifteen. (She’s now 21.) This is a time in life when one often falls in love with the idea of being in love more than actually falling in love. That is captured very well in this film.
Spring Blossom is playing in select theaters and on virtual cinema.
Photos courtesy of KimStim.