DVD Review - My Life with James Dean
Johnny Rasse stars as Géraud Champreux, a filmmaker from northern France. He's made a movie called Ma Vie avec James Dean and a group named Coastal Screens has invited him to play his movie at certain locations along the English Channel, starting at the resort town of Le Tréport. He's a rather quiet and unassuming man. He rides the bus into town and doesn't have the best of luck upon his arrival. He gets robbed. He doesn't get the best hospitality at his hotel. The woman organizing the event is flaky. The concierge could care less and hardly anyone shows up to the theater to see his movie. This generates a feeling of ennui that isn't helped by the fact that the star of his movie who is also Géraud's lover is distant or they have some issue, which while he's there causes Géraud to drift, befriending a possible new lover.
Given some surrealist and comedic elements, there is an air to this film that vibes with something like Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Otto e mezzo). This film isn't as imaginative or bizarre as that Fellini classic. It's not as dream-like. If anything, this movie leans more toward Alex Karpovsky's Red Flag (2013). This movie is less about the glitz and glamour of being in the movie business, but there is a similar listlessness as in Fellini's 8 1/2, but it's not about stifled artistry or unfinished or unachieved art. It's more about the frustration of art that is finished and achieved but then dealing with less than stellar receptions or the receptions you might not expect.
Or, maybe writer-director Dominique Choisy sees it as fandom he wants but doesn't know what to do with. Otherwise, Balthazar is a young, gay kid whose virginal eyes are latching onto the creator of a gay film, mainly because Géraud is within reach or within Balthazar's grasp. Choisy's film in general could be a metaphor for same-sex love. Choisy introduces a subplot between two women in love, two lesbians as it were. I'm not sure of the meaning of this subplot, but, at one point, one of the women indicates that love isn't always as depicted in movies and Choisy might be getting at some theme about perception versus reality.
Not Rated but contains sexual situations and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 48 mins.
Available on DVD and VOD.