Iris in Bloom: A reflection on age, love and reason
by Domenico La Porta
16/05/2011 - Directors’ Fortnight is fertile ground of discovery for audiences and experimentation for filmmakers. It is also a wonderful gateway for newcomers lucky enough to get their debut film selected.
Such luck was had by Valerie Mrejen and Bertrand Schefer. The latter has written autobiographical novels, whilst the former is a philosopher by training who had previously co-written screenplays. Together, they decided to make Iris in Bloom [trailer], an example of French auteur cinema with sober dialogue and an economical directing style. Iris in Bloom studies one period of life, which can seem anecdotal until we get closer to situate it as the film progresses.
Sixteen year-old Iris (Lola Creton) is spending the last days of her adolescence in a small provincial town, when she accidentally encounters forty-something Parisian photographer Jean (Stanislas Merhar). The more they meet, the more their relationship blossoms into a loving friendship, causing upheaval in their respective lives and relationships.
Alternating insouciance and sensuality, Iris in Bloom draws attention to two new young talents of French cinema. Créton (Bluebeard [trailer], Mia Hansen-Løve’s upcoming Goodbye First Love) plays Iris, a shy brunette. Her best friend is played by Adèle Haenel (Water Lilies [trailer], House of Tolerance [trailer]), a vibrant blonde and bombshell beauty.
The industrial setting of northern France ruins the film’s glamorous dimension and the romanticism is present in a certain form of fascination for boredom that brings together Lola’s generation and that of Jean’s, whose job consists in capturing moments and making them important.
In its own way, Iris in Bloom captures the moment when a young girl makes her transition to adulthood. Lola will always have a soft spot for the shot taken at that time, where most people see nothing more than a photo among many others in the album of an ordinary life. In placing us at this almost nostalgic viewpoint, Mrejen and Schefer succeed in touching us with their film, just before the page turns in an album of what will be an outstanding filmography.
(Translated from French)