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Review: Teen sex dealt with frankly in cautionary ‘Bang Gang’

“Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story”
Finnegan Oldfield and Marilyn Lima in “Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story.”
(Samuel Goldwyn Pictures)

The titillatingly titled “Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story,” by writer-director Eva Husson, is described by one character as “a modern fairy tale.” It’s an apt label, as fairy tales are often cautionary.

A group of bored French teenagers, fueled by a rivalry of sexual one-upmanship, and empowered by the intoxicating brew of absentee parents, peer pressure, hormones, drugs and pornography, find themselves discovering the wanton pleasures of group sex.

The presence of technology sparks the danger of discovery, but the pleasures of the Internet are already so woven into their identities that it’s part of their sexuality too. They want to see and be seen — it’s how they understand the world and who they are in it.

Husson brings a generosity of perspective to the film — it switches point of view often, between Laetitia (Daisy Broom), the plain but popular girl; her beautiful best friend George (Marilyn Lima); stud Alex (Finnegan Oldfield), whom the girls tussle over; and Gabriel (Lorenzo Lefèbvre), the lonely kid next door.

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All of these youthful, nubile bodies, objectified by everyone, sensually pulsate to an electronic soundtrack and are a stark contrast to the broken adult bodies in the background. Husson’s film details the consequences of such free love, but it celebrates sex too — the kind based on intimacy and love. Teens and sex: it’s a tale as old as time but this take is surprising, invigorating and sharply frank.

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‘Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story’

In French with English subtitles

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Not rated

Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Royal, West Los Angeles; Laemmle Playhouse, Pasadena


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