Spring Blossom is a film about a 16-year-old schoolgirl’s first love. It’s written, directed and starred in by Suzanne Lindon, so this is obviously her vision of a youthful romantic fantasy. Trouble is, the object of her affection is a much older man.
I guess in France there are different sensibilities about these things. Young love and age gaps are maybe not inherently viewed with suspicion the way they are here. But her love interest, Raphael, is never mentioned to be a specific age, which kind of strikes a note of wariness. I mean, he looks like he’s in his mid-30s. I wondered if they were trying to pass him off as 25, just as Suzanne’s character is obviously younger than she is. He certainly isn’t 20 or something approaching excusable. Certainly Raphael seems to be going through some kind of mid-life crisis, or lull, so you would expect him to be in his 30s at least. Looking up the actor who plays him on IMDB, I see he’s 36. So, yeah, over twice the age of this love interest.
While Lindon is obviously writing a romantic fantasy from the perspective of a naïve girl who finds the experience mesmerising and positive, I can only write from my own perspective, and it gave me the ick. The idea a man this age would take an interest in a schoolgirl, the fact he would pursue her even after he finds out how young she is, the fact he’s an actor and she’s his teenage fan, just yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck. Also at one point she buys a 10-pence mix-up, and he says she looks cute eating sweeties. Boke. He at no point addresses the age difference or has any reservation or thoughts about entering a sexual relationship with a school-aged teenager. There is a scene where they dance together which is clearly meant to be a metaphor for her first time, and at one point she drops to her knees and he guides her head with his hands in visual metaphor for fellatio, and everything about the scene, the music, the way it’s filmed, the graceful, half-sleepy dance of the actors, is supposed to tell you this is beautiful, but it just made my skin crawl.
Spring Blossom is a film very much in the French tradition, it’s romantic, it’s carefree, it revels in discovery and coming-of-age, it’s more fantasy than reality. If that’s your thing, wire in.