Normally, I'm not one to pay much attention to student films. They are what they are. Some are amusing, and some are interesting. And some are merely the work of beginners just learning their craft. But recently, I came across an 11 minute work which I think is so good it transcends the category of "student" work. Sure, it has flaws -- but I find it so charming I want everyone to know about it.
It's called Loving Louise Brooks, and it's recently debuted on the internet. It's the work of Sebastian Pesle, an 18 year old recently graduated French high school student. He has crafted a very true film well worth watching.
It's a short work which speaks not only to the vagaries of young love, but also to cinematic obsession -- and the times when those two forces collide. As a student effort, it is especially mature and rather impressive. It remands me of the work of Woody Allen.
Loving Louise Brooks was made in late 2009 and early 2010. It is a wordless sound film, in effect a "silent film," and a homage to the filmmaker's own infatuation with the movies. There is a musical soundtrack.
Loving Louise Brooks features Pesle as a young cineaste obsessed with the silent film star. In a couple of scenes, he is shown sitting in a movie theater watching the 1929 Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl. And in another scene, he can be spotted reading a soft cover edition of Brooks' memoir, Lulu in Hollywood.
His charming girl friend, longing for his affection, is played by Malvina Desmarest. In the end, she must effect Brooks' appearance (a la the character she played in Diary of a Lost Girl) to get his attention. Whether this ploy works or not, I won't tell. You will have to watch the film to find out. And by the way, the characters in this short work are themselves making a film. Also in the cast are Alexis Garin and Yannis Letournel. All are, or were, film students, I believe, at the Lycee Jean-Batiste Corot in France. The story is by Lauranne Launay.
Thomas Gladysz is an arts journalist and author. His interview with Allen Ginsberg was included in Sarah Greenough's "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg" (National Gallery of Art, 2010). And recently, he wrote the introduction to the Louise Brooks edition of Margarete Bohme's classic novel, The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press, 2010). More at www.thomasgladysz.com.