The new French film “Eden” – loosely based on the club-DJ exploits of Sven Hansen-Love, the brother of its director Mia Hansen-Love – walks a fine thematic line.
As his fictionalized character Paul (played with wide-eyed charm by Felix de Givry) climbs from pastoral, early-1990s countryside raves into the platter-spinning booth with his house-garage-inspired duo Cheers – and then struggles for more than a decade to monetize it while his pals Daft Punk find success – the plot veers from euphoric celebration of the craft to dire cautionary tale.
Eventually, one question remains: Who would ever choose to become a DJ?
At 41, Hansen-Love is still puzzling over that conundrum.
Over coffee, during a visit to San Francisco with de Givry to promote the film (which opens Friday at the Embarcadero ), he says he’s still in awe of the power he once wielded as a DJ, the ability to bring a crowd to a boil with the flick of a wrist.
“It’s very addictive,” says Hansen-Love, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. “It’s so addictive that, at one point, you can lose yourself in it, and it becomes just like a drug. The feelings that you get from DJing are very deep.”
In “Eden,” they’re compounded by Paul’s increasing appetite for cocaine and other stimulants and depressants.
As Hansen-Love tells it, he never intended to reveal any details about his tumultuous career, which took him to New York for a hard-partying spell.
But his sibling – who finished three films that she deemed a trilogy – prodded him into it.
“She wanted to do a film about generation, and she was really interested in the electronic music scene in France,” he says. “Since I was actually a part of that scene, she asked me if I would co-write the film with her. I would never have done it by myself.”
Reality and fiction blend in the script, sometimes hilariously.
One of Paul’s many girlfriends upbraids him when Cheers becomes profitable – the heat is shut off in their apartment, but he’s still buying posh designer shirts.
And when his friends carry him home, inebriated, and a disgusted older neighbor mutters about these kids today, he shouts “I’m 34!”
“We shot that scene on the stairs of Sven’s actual apartment,” says de Givry, 22. “It illustrates how the character’s not able to age, psychologically. He keeps living on what made his youth.”
After re-living Hansen-Love’s life onscreen – which segues into rehab, then writing classes – de Givry says he understands it: “If you’re a DJ, then find your career not working so well but you’ve gained enough experiences to write a movie, and you become an accomplished writer? Well, being a DJ wasn’t really the worst career choice, you know?”
IF YOU GO
Starring: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne
Written by: Mia Hansen-Love, Sven Hansen-Love
Directed by: Mia Hansen-Love
Running time: 2 hours, 11 minutes