Eden
⋆⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Rated: R for sex, drugs, death and disenchantment.
Theater: Edina Cinema.

 

The year is 1992, and Paul (Félix de Givry) is falling hard for the soulful sounds of garage, the warm and pulsing dance music that began in Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage in New York City. Spanning two decades and many terrific tunes, this feature from French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love rides its techno-sonic wave with a restless intelligence. Dance parties explode in out-of-the-way spaces as Paul and his friend Stan (Hugo Conzelmann) form a DJ duo, host their own events and attract a modest following.

By the film’s second half its melancholy dips have become more pronounced, with Paul deep into disillusion and deeper in debt. In one beautifully poignant scene, Paul watches a young female DJ languidly manipulate a glowing laptop, the once-frantic juggling of turntables and mixing board now erased by the ease of preset software. “Eden” recognizes how the thrill of artistic freedom can curdle in the heat of the marketplace and the demands of daily life. Presented without forced high-wire stakes, “Eden” frets over the biggest stake of all: How to make — and sustain — the life that you truly want to live.

JEANNETTE CATSOULIS, New York Times