Eden is a film about finding your passion, the euphoric sense of belonging, the empowerment of establishing your practice on the cultural scene of a big city, career success discolored by financial lack, the loss of friends to outlandish success, parenthood and suicide, and finally, almost by accident, finding yourself because you’re the only thing that’s left. The film immerses us in the Parisian club scene which produced Daft Punk. Written by sister-brother duo, Mia and Sven Hansen-Løve, it is closely based on Sven’s experience as a D.J., and pulsates with a truth to life that’s a joy to be swept up in, even in the film’s less happy moments.
In the opening scene, Paul (Félix de Givry), the main character, tumbles out of a throbbing club in the suburbs and, minutes later, he re-emerges into the silver mist of the very early morning. From that moment on, the sumptuous, electronic soundtrack joins forces with Denis Lenoir’s graceful, gliding camera to evoke the sparks of creative passion, and a dedicated crew of friends circling around the glow. It’s an all-male crew, in which women appear as girlfriends—most memorably Greta Gerwig and Pauline Etienne—who hang out for a while, disappear, then reappear later either pregnant or with kids.
Paul is distant, his emotions replaced by his mixes. His life has been boiled down to chasing a dream. Hansen-Løve knows exactly how to convey the allure of the mono-maniacal focus: the electricity of the dance floor and the drug-assisted euphoria of light and sound. This energy gives the film an immediacy that leaves little room for nostalgia. This immediacy also makes it possible to tolerate the misogyny of the period. When we emerge into the grey light of present day at the end of the movie, we see that the limitations placed on the women of the era are one aspect of the intermingling of creativity with the marketplace.
Perceptive and compassionate, Eden is a journey through the complex possibilities of leading a creative life.