Friday, 13 May 2016

REVIEW - MY GOLDEN DAYS (ARNAUD DESPLECHIN)


A crooked film, one that would have you believe one thing and secretly sell you another. Arnaud Desplechin trades in familiar themes through familiar techniques, prompting one to wonder why he's so pompous about it all? Exactly what is there to My Golden Days, quite what does it communicate that is so fresh, so radical, so transcendent? It is a solid piece of romantic nostalgia, no more, and often much less, spoiled as it is by technical tinkering and subtle stylistic flourishes. Desplechin both follows and informs the trajectory of his narrative, though with consistently little insight, whether emotional, intellectual, formal or artistic. This isn't creativity, this is trickery, the act of posturing and pandering to the arthouse masses so determinedly as to hoodwink them into buying into your shady scheme. My Golden Days is a run-of-the-mill wish-fulfillment fantasy, one both by and for the archetypal white male intellectualist, with bohemian sensibilities but a bourgeois bent, the latent 'meninist', the self-pitying romantic. In its corrupt construct, the film does get much of its remembered romance right, and then the viewer remembers too, what Desplechin is capable of at the best of times. But the film is otherwise characterised either by formal techniques that obliquely nod toward banalities unbecoming of the manner of their presentation, or just a pervasive banality - it always irks me to admit this, but sometimes it simply happens to be true: the film is boring. And, to me, most of My Golden Days amounted to a filmmaker insistent upon convincing me that it wasn't boring at all, that maybe if I should find it as such then I just didn't get it. But getting what I did from My Golden Days, I'm not sure that I even want to get it.