By Kiva Reardon
For the first time, Mia Hansen-Løve hasn’t made a movie about a woman. But Eden isn’t about a man either, but rather a sort of man-child. This is an important distinction, given that for this particular creature there’s nothing more terrifying than the inevitable passage of time, which brings with it the slow erosion of relevancy and cultural capital. This is what is at stake in Eden’s epically scaled look at the life of an aging DJ. It’s a film about the folly of insisting on dreaming of youth after youth.
The party begins in 1992, as Paul (a fresh-faced Félix de Givry) aspires to become the next big DJ, like his pals Daft Punk. In between parties, lovers (including Greta Gerwig playing Greta Gerwig) and snorting lines of coke, Paul finds some minor success spinning records while at the same time spinning his wheels. Time marches on, while Paul insists on remaining lost in the (increasingly outdated) music. Suddenly (for him), it’s 2013: he’s broke, 32, and living back at home. The party, as the song goes, is over.
Eden forces a few things (Hansen-Løve insists on a clunky superimposition effect), but it’s punctuated with enough moments of genuine exuberance (Paul chasing his on-and-off again girlfriend through a water park) and humour (a critical defense of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls, a recurring Daft Punk gag) to offset its flaws. And it never feels like piteous swan song for Paul. Instead, it compassionately and finally movingly illustrates how our dreams, when stubbornly unchecked, can become shackles.