Published on October 21, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert0
Film: Jeune et Jolie (Young and Beautiful)
Jeune et Jolie (Young and Beautiful) is the latest French film exploring prostitution.
Featured at London’s British Film Institute festival this Autumn, it is a coming-of-age story that sees vulnerable and naive Isabelle (Mariane Vacth) exploring her sexuality through prostitution.
Directed by François Ozon, Jeune et Jolie is a four chapter profile of Isabelle’s journey from young virgin teen to provocative call-girl.
The cinematography is realistic and typical of Ozon’s style, allowing the audience to watch Isabelle’s life unfold without becoming emotionally invested in her character.
As her sexual journey progresses, she performs sex acts on men old enough to be her grandfather in the dark and debauched world she has chosen to explore.
Once Isabelle starts using internet porn as a reference point, the dark realities of her double life begin to unravel as her ‘alternative’ persona bleeds into her everyday life.
Actress Marine Vacth has suggested that Isabelle merely wanted to try something exciting; the foundation of many a coming-of-age story.
The extreme portrayal of a 17-year-old entering the world of prostitution via the internet may be an interesting and alternative view of sexual rebellion in a digital age.
There is a subtlety in what remains unsaid allowing for speculation over Isabelle’s true motives, as well as what moves this aloof and melancholy character.
Jeune et Jolie certainly nods at the French film noir genre and has drawn in countless comparisons to Luis Buñuel’s 1967 Belle de Jour.
However, Isabelle’s exploration of the erotic follows a fairly regimented script accounting for a predictable fairytale journey of this young high-heeled hooker.