Eden review: dancing into paradise

Despite cameos from the likes of Daft Punk, this drama about French Touch music never loses sight of the genre’s garage origins

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Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cert: 15A
Genre: Drama
Starring: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne
Running Time: 2 hrs 11 mins

If you're not entirely sure what you were doing for a year or two around the new millennium, Eden may help fill in the blanks. The fourth feature from Mia Hansen-Løve concerns the birth of French Touch, the loveliest musical sub-culture to spring forth from the ill-defined sprawl our American chums call EDM (Electronic Dance Music).

The director has an inside track: her brother and the screenplay’s co-author is Sven Hansen-Løve, a DJ, promoter and collaborator, whose biography runs parallel to that of his more successful chums, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the duo we know as Daft Punk.

Arguably the film's most magical moment comes when those gentlemen step up to the decks to trick with an early version of Da Funk. The scene is winningly downplayed. Eden, despite its celebrity cameos, never loses sight of French Touch's handmade garage origins.

In this spirit, this is not the Daft Punk story. Rather, the film hangs on Sven Hansen-Løve and his screen alter-ego Paul (Félix de Givry) as he drifts through house parties, then bigger clubs, all the while taking drugs and failing at relationships.


Girlfriends – including Greta Gerwig’s American in Paris and Pauline Etienne’s straight-talking scenester – come and go, as Paul journeys from the early 1990s into a shiny neon 21st century.

For all the Dionysian sheen, Eden's protagonist spends much of the run time hanging out with artsy friends, most notably illustrator Cyril (Roman Kolinka) and Showgirls defender Arnaud (Vincent Macaigne).

It’s left to the music and cinematographer’s Denis Lenoir hazy rave scenes to flag the film’s epic dimensions.

Taking cues from the soundtrack, there's something phenomenal about Eden's house party.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic