Director: Charlotte LeBon | Script: François Choquet as Charlotte Le Bon | Cast: Joseph Engel (Bastien), Sara Montpetit (Chloé), Monia Chokri (Violette), others | Time to play: 100 minutes | Year: 2022
Under the summer sun of a dream vacation by the lake, two teenagers explore their budding sexuality. The setting is stunning and fairytale-like, and yet dark feelings are increasingly gaining the upper hand. Is the story that a body was found along the shore of Falcon Lake true? Expect an evocative coming-of-age drama in the vein of a ghost story.
Fourteen-year-old Bastien travels with his mother and younger brother to a comfortable summer house in the Canadian countryside. A friendly family lives permanently by the beautiful lake from the film’s title. At a jetty on the shore, Bastien cautiously meets the rebellious Chloé, the family’s sixteen-year-old daughter. The subtle age difference and Chloé’s moody behavior mean Bastien has to overcome her own shyness to get to her.
What follows is a playful and captivating love game, crafted with precise attention to the stage of life in which adolescents find themselves. In a controlled intimate scene, the camera gets close to the skin without exploiting the young actors for a moment. Typical of this stunning directorial debut from Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon, she sensitively captures the sensual atmosphere of early interactions. Analog photography (16mm) is like a warm blanket that covers the entire film; the recurring lake sparkles in the sunlight.
falcon lake is an adult drama about the experiences of teenagers. It’s intriguing to watch the shy Bastien slowly come out of his shell. With the disappearance of his shyness, he also talks with his classmates, but the question is whether he will conquer Chloé’s heart. In search of genuine affection, the girl plays different roles: then unattainable, then affectionate again. That she is older and attracts the attention of older guys is crucial. Bastien thinks she has to prove herself, but she’s more vulnerable than she seems.
Many teens fear feeling alone for a while sooner or later, but Chloé’s fears and fantasies are more elusive. Like a slowly growing dark cloud, hints of a sinister sequel are gathering. At various points in the film, Bastien and Chloé dress up as ghosts, wearing simple white robes. They approach from behind, pretend to still be wandering after death, and discuss what it must feel like to not be able to breathe.
When the teenagers talk to their classmates at a party about a rumor that a body has been found by the lake, an older boy relegates the story to the realm of fable. Is she right or does Chloé really have a sixth sense? Le Bon plays with her characters’ sense of reality and the people watching the story unfold. In a ghost story Will Oldham appears halfway through to explain the film, but the Canadian leaves that to the imagination and the many ambiguous dialogues. A layered coming-of-age drama that also makes its way off the screen.