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OPENS AUGUST 25
In this quintessentially French coming-of-age film, three young men (students at a boys’ boarding school) and a young woman (the daughter of their teacher) become friends. Set in 1962, director/co-writer André Téchiné’s episodic, unhurried tale unfolds in the shadow of Algeria, which the French have just reluctantly granted independence. Maite and her longtime friend François support Algerian self-determination; Henri, who grew up in Algeria, feels betrayed; Serge blames Henri for the loss of his brother, a soldier who recently died there. The tensions are not all political: François thinks he might be gay; Maite is attracted to Henri, but doesn’t want to have anything to do with a “fascist”; Serge decides to marry his brother’s widow. Téchiné weaves these outbursts of urgency into a loose, modestly unpredictable narrative; the effect is subtle, but more powerful than the film’s seemingly casual early scenes would suggest. The mix of politics, romance, and youth rebellion suggests the content of early Godard in the style of early Truffaut. At the Cineplex-Odeon Janus, 1660 Connecticut Ave. NW. $7. (202) 265-9545. (Mark Jenkins)