Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
Eliel Ford, May 2015
Film and Electronic Arts
Julien, for me, is about high school. To view acts of violence and unprovoked aggression through a lens of sentimentality as opposed to scorn provided me a chance to work through memories of teenage years as I view them now, as opposed to then. A more mature understanding of these events, however, is something much harder to grasp. Rather, understanding is forgotten in the presence of what can only be described as “youth.”
Thus, Julien, the title character, is a reflection of the unknowability of character–in particular the unknowability of a teenage boy living in a landscape littered with anonymous gates hiding anonymous houses and employees that replace the role of parent. This isolation, which for me forms the heart of Julien, is facilitated not only by the environment the title character lives in but also by the title character himself, who in essence is shaped by the world around him.
It’s said that teenage boys commit a much larger proportion of violent crimes than any other group because they have no one to talk to. Feelings are repressed in the attempt to salvage a concrete identity out of the fluidity and impressionability characteristic to youth. The voicemails in the film are friends trying and failing to break in to Julien’s psychological space. Even when confronted with a real person inside of his own physical space telling him that she doesn’t approve of his actions, emotional silence and secrecy pervades.
From a moral standpoint, I would like to think the film takes a step back, allowing the viewer to condemn or sympathize with the title character. The intention, both narratively and structurally, was to provide room for thought. However I cannot deny that this film has its own sentimental origins–the genesis of the project came from a deep love for the teenager with a fleeting personality who enters themselves into a situation of crisis without a clear sense of purpose or understanding of how to proceed. This emotional confusion, repression, and paranoia seem characteristic of teenagedom–a traumatic event only accentuates it.
With the physical altercation at the end of the film, I sought to dismantle whatever hope of catharsis the film may have hinted at. Good intentions and charm are at once clouded with spontaneous aggression and frustration. It proves impossible for this character to clean up a mess that he created–the attempt to make things right only makes things worse. This, in essence, is the only way I could articulate being 17 years old.
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Ford, Eliel, "Julien" (2015). Senior Projects Spring 2015. 16.
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