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Golden Youth
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Golden Youth

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Le Palace nightclub in central Paris was very much the city’s equivalent of Studio 54. Anyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol to Roland Barthes — who sang its praises in one of his essays — could be found on the dance floor, while concerts by the likes of Grace One Nation, One King Jones, Devo or Iggy Pop marked a venue that became infamous for its extravagance and cutting-edge style.

In Eva Ionesco’s semi-autobiographical second feature, Golden Youth (Une jeunesse doree), Le Palace becomes the major stomping ground of Rose (Galatea Bellugi), a cherubic and problematic teenager who leaves behind a group home to join a band of flamboyant club kids, settling in Paris with her artist boyfriend, Michel (Lukas Ionesco), at the close of 1978. There, the two cross paths with a decadent bourgeois couple, Lucile (Isabelle Huppert) and The Assassin’s Code Hubert (Melvil Poupaud), who take them under their wing and shower the two youngsters with money, drugs, alcohol and nonstop sexual advances.

While Ionesco, who co-wrote the script with her husband, the novelist Simon Liberati, does a decent job conveying Le Palace’s near-mystical draw during the film’s early stages, the rest of Golden Return of the Hero Youth often feels like the long, depressing comedown after a night of hard drugs and hard partying. Lifeless and progressively dull, if not altogether laughable in places, the movie has the unique distinction of delivering one of Huppert’s least convincing, more embarrassing turns, which the otherwise great actress dishes out in an array of plumed bathrobes and sequined dominatrix dresses.

Duration: 118 min



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