When you’re in your early 20s your love life seems to explode every 20 minutes or so. By the time you’ve reached your thirties, it is every five or ten years.
If you were not previously afraid of turning 30 then perhaps French director and screen writer Sebastein Betbeder’s recently released second film will have you fighting to ensure that your youth is not wasted while you are still young.
2 Autumns, 3 Winters follows three thirty-something year olds falling in and out of love. Trying to embrace this new phase of life, each character is both shocked and regretful at how their youth has passed them by.
Thirty-three year old protagonist Arman (Vincent Macgaine) decides to make a change to his uninspired life by starting to regularly run in a local park. Looking like Bill Bailey on bad hair day, Arman meets the beautiful Amelie exercising and falls for her immediately. Over the course of two autumns and three winters we witness a series of dates; double dates; stokes; serendipitous meetings with former lovers and former colleges; and mundane trips to the supermarket as the film paints a picture of life past the big three-zero.
Each scene is literally numbered, like a chapters in a book, as the detailed exposition of a series of eclectic, somewhat intertwined moments, show that life is unexpected in both joy and sadness. In an underwhelming Woody Allen stylised way, the characters frequently self-narrate their conversations by speaking directly to the camera and describing their feelings—often as polar opposites to the other party in the conversation.
In a repeated motif, each of the male characters meets their love-interests during unfortunate incidents. It is a bitter-sweet irony that only through suffering does something good seem to come these hapless hommes – all in spite of Arman and Benjamin (Bastien Bouillon) trying to control their own destinies.
Despite intermittently offering brief moments of humour and glimpses of hope, it is unfortunate that Betheder’s directorial creativity is at the expense of strong storytelling. Experimenting with the medium, the film alternates between grainy 16mm footage and High Definition (HD) producing a semi-autobiographical tone. However, one cannot help but feel that too much effort has been placed in making the film seem cutesy and indie rather than allowing viewers to emotionally engage with the characters on a deeper level.
“I had trouble appreciating the vast landscape before me” exhaustedly says Amelie—perhaps best encapsulates 2 Autumns, 3 Winters’ contention about growing-up and life post 29.
This review has been published online through Farrago Magazine