Falcon Lake


‘…a slippery, elusive, rewarding drama about a young Parisian boy’s holiday romance in Quebec, and not the mad slasher movie that the title might suggest…’

Out today in US cinemas, and the following week on home streaming, Charlotte Le Bon’s Falcon Lake is something of a hybrid; Le Bon is a model turned actress turned writer/director, and managed to get her debut into the director’s fortnight at Cannes 2022. But on reflection, that’s no surprise in that this Canadian/French co-production probably ticks all the boxes in terms of French cinema; this is a slippery, elusive, rewarding drama about a young Parisian boy’s holiday romance in Quebec, and not the mad slasher movie that the title might suggest.

So let’s not think Eden Lake or even Falcon Crest, but you might want to smear some Aftersun factor 15 on for some arthouse sensitivity about coming of age on holiday; based on a graphic novel called Une Sœur by Bastien Vivès, the story is largely set in Gore, Quebec, and the protagonist is also Bastien (Jospeh Engel). He’s a young Parisian staying at a friend’s lakeside cottage, where he develops a halting friendship with Chloé (Sara Montpetit). He’s 13, she’s 16, but the two strike up a connection deepened when she reveals her interest in local folklore, and a ghost which may still haunt Falcon Lake…

So Falcon Lake is a tricky bird to unpack; Le Bon’s visual strategy, and musical accompaniment, will be very familiar from horror films, but Falcon Lake never explores anything too melodramatic or even violent; it’s ambiguous whether Chloe just has an interest in the supernatural, or whether there might be some kind of Sixth Sense angle going on. Bastien and Chloe drink, smoke the local dope, canoodle, vomit, and generally act like teens, but Bastein’s anxieties feel real, so why not present them via the established clichés of horror?

Falcon Lake is a melancholy, moody film that’s deservedly earned some plaudits and a decent sized release; one of Le Bon’s most effective decisions is to often show Chloe as a silhouette, a tactic which makes the girl seem otherworldly and remote. It’s also the kind of subtle technique that works better on the expanses of the cinema screen than on tv, making Falcon Lake the kind of experience ideally tackled in its brief, shining moment in the big-screen spotlight. Falcon Lake is arthouse, to be sure; it abandons the kind of propulsive text we expect from mainstream films and expands a delicate subtext to centre stage. Falcon Lake will likely divide audiences who may lose patience with the small scale and gentle pace of Bastien and Chloe’s relationship, but there’s more than enough dramatic meat on the bones to make Le Bon’s well worth seeing for cineastes.

Falcon Lake opens is selected US cinemas from June 2, streaming from June 9 2023.


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  1. I can suspend my belief in a lot of things when it comes to movies (and generally have to), but not even I can get beyond a 16year old girl falling in like with a 13year old. At that age, each year is a decade and the differences are just too great.

    So this gets a nope, arthouse or not…

  2. I’ve never been to Gore, Quebec. But I used to live on Gore Rd. Does that count?

    When are you going to review About My Father? I hear it’s getting raves.

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