A new French film, Juliette, by 20-something director Pierre Godeau, is a portrait of Europe’s Gen Y stalled on the tracks of Eurozone economic meltdown. I was instantly curious about the film because I write about generations and I have daughter named Juliette who is kind of on the cusp between Gen Y and Generation Z.
From Too Insistent and The Do:
What’s wrong with you
What is it you want
What’s so special about me
And you’re too insistent
You are too insistent
Don’t you stop
I know not
Why won’t you let me go
Why won’t you let me go now
Just let me grow
I’m still a tiny toad
So, the film’s script is anchored around this 27-year-old French woman who still lives at home. Read Agnes Poirier’s review of the film in The Guardian: France’s ‘lost generation’ of jobless youth finds film portrait in Juliette.
In an interview for French newspaper Libération, the grey-eyed and chain-smoking Bergès-Frisbey links the existential crisis of her generation with today’s economic and moral problems: “This is a petrifying moment in our lives. We have never known a world without internet, mobile phones, instant messaging. In other words, we have access to everything at all times and yet all paths seem blocked. We have more tools, more choices, and yet we live as if constantly paralysed.”
In Juliette, we also see a society that idolises dreams and fantasies. “There is almost an injunction on today’s youth to lead fascinating lives. But if we fail, and most of us are doomed to, we’ll be considered losers,” continues Bergès-Frisbey. Not having the courage to grow up, and to face up to reality, Juliette is the face of a generation who prefer to continue living with their parents.
The Juliette Generation
The French priest and specialist in social psychiatry, Father Tony Anatrella, described them as “adulescents.” To be sure, these individuals are not confined to the Juliette Generation of Millennials or Gen Y, but include adults of all ages who “infantilize and live an endless extension of adolescence.” Basically, its people who:
- Fear responsibility
- Take refuge in an extended childhood Idealize youth and fear losing its advantages
- Resist employment (assuming any jobs are even available)
- Lead emotionally unstable lives
- Fear not being the center of attention — even when they become parents
- Fear losing the love and affection of others.
Ten years ago, when fictional Juliette would have been 17, Anatrella presented a paper for World Youth Day, The World of Youth Today: Who Are They and What Do They Seek?
At the time he was writing about people between 18 and 30, so at the time he was talking about older Millennials and younger Gen Xers. He wrote:
One must always beware of making hasty generalisations when talking about young people, and you can confirm or add to my remarks according to your cultural backgrounds. However, we can identify common traits in the psychology and sociology of young people all over the world…These young people have weak points, but they are still receptive, ready to help and generous. They are not burdened by ideologies like previous generations were. They seek authentic relationships and are in search of truth. However, when they do not find it in reality, they hope to find it within themselves. This kind of attitude predisposes them to depend on feelings and on individualism and to put social ties and their sense of what is in the general interest at their service. The social context is not conducive to the development of a real spiritual dimension. However, they are ready to dedicate themselves to any demanding causes that may arise.
The film’s official news release includes some very thoughtful insights from Godeau. It was published in French and the translation below is not perfect, but still beautiful.
The Character Juliette
As I said, I do not know how this character came to me. This I know is that I wanted to talk about my generation of young people who benefit the present moment because the company sells their model of immediate happiness. So when Juliette is imposed, I watched the way he had left to go and the obstacles that stood before her to become an adult. A real hero. How will she realize the long term when the instability becomes standard? What is the procedure for she managed to accomplish? Does the real fantasies or she leaves dictate a world increasingly formatted and gimmicky? And it was a way for me to go into the unknown… it’s me.
The Floating Generation
The film is, in fact, the chronicle of a wandering…With a latency period. Empty. In-between. Juliette, floating character, okay. His life is very busy but full of … nothing. Before we finished his studies, there were work, we took an apartment. Today, my Spanish friends, because of the crisis, looking for a job and still live with their parents. My French friends, they, strung training until the age of 30 years. They have no status. They left the bank of adolescence – and watch the other one where tomorrow he will live – but they remain patronized. In fairness, I chose to include Juliette in my environment. I did not feel not the legitimacy of the propel another.
Juliette le Film Links
Juliette, The Film, on Facebook
Soundtrack to Juliette on Spotify including the song in the trailer, Too Insistent, by The Dø, A French/Finnish indie pop band.
Pierre Godeau on Facebook
Juliette le Film Press Kit