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  • Times of innocence!!

    Times of innocence innocence!!

    I wouldn't want to lecture anybody but I do feel the urge to say some things I consider important about this BEAUTIFUL film. I saw it for the first time in 1976 (I was 14) and then one more time a year later. That was it. The rest of it was the pink LP of Elton John's soundtrack getting the music and the story deeper and deeper inside my heart. How deep?
    A week ago my cousin gave me a VHS copy as a present. (No DVD's yet).
    Boy....was I surprised!! Poets have always sustained that deep childhood and adolescent experiences of beauty, love, God, idealist pursuits, stay with you forever. Since they occur mostly at the heart's level (no intellect yet!), they define your soul's contours like a sculptor would do with a stone. If sometimes we didn't tend to forget how right they are perhaps we would do better in understanding the meaning of every minute, of every decision, of every turning point of our lives.

    So, I confess I feel nostalgia. But the fascinating part of this is watching the film again, and through this trip back in time, enriching that understanding of why we, people from the 60's, grew up as we did. The spirit of those times is all here: a Genesis created far from the official world of consuming and economic success, make love not war, the beautiful pop ballads, the poetry of the lyrics, a totally romantic view of adolescent rebellion with the awakening of sexuality carefully wrapped in tender and chaste love, these two lonely spirits still full of childhood innocence growing together as they learn mutual commitment and turning into "adults".

    I showed the film to a group of school youngsters and they abounded with such simplistic and cynical comments regarding it as na?ve and foolish. Guys, be serious!! Cinema is an art and as art it reflects not only human emotions but historical moments. And this is exactly what "Friends" does in a masterly way. It reflects an idyllic idea of rebellion and new beginning we all dreamt about when we were 15. I'm now a musician and I feel some of us, artists for that matter, still dream about it!! How else could we live? That's "Friends", that's "Brother Sun Sister Moon", that's "Hair". Those were the times, still alien to AIDS, alien to explicit and vulgar texts in pop songs with no melody, to pornography presented as "sexuality", to this barbaric new "world order" growing after September 11th.

    What a heart warming experience to see Paul and Michelle again, timidly and tenderly exploring the new fantasies of their romantic world. What a trip back to the very core of our hearts: to Paris, to Elton John at his best, to the 2 CV Citro?n and the VW Beetle. What a fresh air from the peaceful cottage in Camargue, surrounded by fishing ponds and wild horses. They made us who we are, as did Serrat in Spain, Brel in France, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Luther King, the Beatles, the early Bee Gees, Belafonte's Spirituals, Gandhi, the Gospel of Elvis.

    People still hoping: get this picture. Start with innocence and grow from there. You'll find out what it's all about. And from there you'll have a solid and more truthful foundation; some ideals to look for in life, a way to handle personal and world affairs. We need so much of this today! Give yourselves the chance and maybe someday the time of cynics will end.

    Santiago Zuleta.
    Bogotš¢, Colombia.
    ...more info
    This movie is timeless for me and will always be. How wonderful to fall in love for the first time. It is a dream that all young men would love to have. "Love is real, real is love, love is wanting to be loved" John Lennon....more info
  • Reminiscing
    This film came out when I was 12 years and became so in love with the characters, the movie and the soundtrack!

    Yes I also saw Paul and Michelle, the sequel to Friends. And yes I also loved it! I wish Elton John had written the songs for the soundtrack for that one too.

    I was surprise to even find the movie here at Amazon. I had an LP record but I have lost it through the years of moving. I would like to be able to buy the CD since I really have worn out the cassette I recorded the album into. After all, the cassette itself is over 20 years old.

    I would recommend both of the movies and the soundtrack! Of course I'm biased since it came out during the beginning of my teen years!...more info

  • Paul and Michelle in Eden-how young lovers startedas friends
    In Paris, surly Britisher Paul Harrison, 15, suffers from a businessman father who's getting married and gaining a stepmother and a prim and proper stepbrother Gerald. Cute brunette Michelle Latour, 14 and a half, whose father's death has left her an orphan, flees from her cousin and her abusive live-in Pierre. Paul and Michelle meet and after a few days, run away to a countryside cottage Michelle and her artist father used. Both are fed up with adults who don't seem to want, understand, or care about their feelings. "Adults. They're all the same. As long as you don't bother them..." Paul says. Later he contends that "if we were old enough, they might leave us both alone. Nobody's gonna find us no matter how hard they try." Late twenties onwards is considered old for them.

    It's a nice, cozy two bedroom, one living room with fireplace, cottage. And it's apparent that Michelle is in her element in the countryside. Even though Paul's the one who decides to run away and tag along with her, Michelle's knowhow proves that she's more responsible than he, although he learns from her and from experience. She knows how to cook and wash so her abilities as a housewife are in plain evidence. Paul is educated, but that doesn't do him any good where they are.

    The world Paul and Michelle create isn't that far removed from the adult world, because necessity dictates Paul to find a job in order to buy food. They go hungry together, become disillusioned at times, and even their idyllic union is briefly threatened in a war of words. But they triumph and soon fall in love, and beyond. Michelle is very gentle and is quick to stand by him when his job hunt yields nothing. She assures him he'll have better luck tomorrow. And the horrid women of today are quick to brand their boyfriends or husbands losers if they have that trouble! Give me a girl like Michelle anyday! The cottage in the idyllic countryside instead of the busy streets of Paris works in their favour. Here, they have their Eden. Sure, the long walk Paul has in the fields or in town is quite a trial, but it makes a man out of him, plus he feels the esteem in getting money and having Michelle to come home to.

    Their outlook and message to the world is encapsulated in this exchange, when they are having a picnic. Michelle asks Paul, "What is the future?" To which he replies "It's here. It's us. Until we're properly married.... Until we're old enough. No one to say that we're too young."

    Lewis Gilbert directed this movie and its sequel, Paul And Michelle. His better known efforts include You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Educating Rita, and Shirley Valentine. And Elton John's score and love songs add to the magic, particularly the title track and "Seasons" which Heart did on their Road Home album. "Funny how young lovers start as friends" he sings. Funny, and wonderful. And the old English lady Paul helps in the bookshop is Joan Hickson, who played Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the BBC TV series in the 1980's.

    Both leads are great here, making a loving and ultimately responsible couple in their Eden. The controversy this film aroused for portraying mid-teens as parents isn't justified. Although Anicee Alvina does indeed do a great job of looking fourteen, (she was 16) and her topless scenes may have caused a stir. She is very cute and darling, a cross between Judy Garland, especially when wearing pigtails, and Drew Barrymore. And her voice is so girlish and cute French accented English.

    A sense of emancipation exploded in the 1970's, such as the youth and women's liberation movement, and Roe v. Wade was two years to come after this film. Despite this being an English-directed film, the childbirth here reflects the illegality of abortion in France, which continued until 1974, but also a return to the idyllic romanticism that the above movements sundered. No, I'm not saying this is something the right can rally to, but more a return to nature, away from the stifling metropolis and authority. A sweet little film whose sequel I can't wait to see....more info

    This movie captures the innocence and idealism of two very young teenagers in England & France. I first saw this movie while over in Italy in the Military in the early 70's. Elton John's soundtrack is unbelievably set perfectly to the movie.

    If only life could still be this innocent and sweet. There is nothing dirty or foul about the movie. Two young kids fall in love and experience life, howbeit, the difficult way in southern France.

    This movie brings back "those" memories of the 1960's and early 1970's. If you listen to the soundtrack, that is the words you will note how very well they depict the thoughts and imaginations of these two young teens. Anyone not having a copy should get one....more info

    This is the kind of movies i love so much, like Melody, i was the loky to get a copy of Melody With Spanish subtitles if you
    also speak spanish as a native languaje contact me and i will send you a copy of this beautifull movie. ( info
  • 70's era dream movie
    Ditto as Tim just reviewed. This movie played the 'midnight show' circuit in the 70's before Rocky Horror became the rage, and I missed it somehow. I searched for so many years but no luck finding anywhere in video stores. They never heard of it and had no record of it. Have wanted to experience the movie to go with the beautiful soundtrack of Elton John that I have enjoyed for 30 years.
    This movie will bring back visions and memories of college days and first love from that era. Although 'Animal House', 'Fast Times', and 'Ferris Bueller' might be the generation films from the 70's and early 80's, "Friends" should be the 'love' film for the early 70's 'peace' generation to yearn for. (I never think of the lame TV show, only this movie and the wonderful soundtrack). Buy it before it disappears once again. You will be so very happy for the experience....more info
  • Thank you !
    I can't believe that such a small budget film that Anicee and I had the good fortune to make all those years ago, is still receiving your kind attention. Thank you for all your comments, I assure you it was great fun to make "Friends" and an honour to work with Lewis Gilbert who has continued to make some super films.

    I shall always remember Lewis's words after the Preview showing..."Sean" he said as he came up to shake my hand,"you have nothing to be ashamed of !"..(I heaved a sigh of relief)...then he added.. "But nothing to be proud of either!". Years of dedicated training as a young actor just went down the pan!
    I now work with people with special needs , the money is terrible but the smiles are the best! I have been lucky enough to see both of these 2 very different worlds. One feeds upon the attention it seeks and the other is just happy being, and getting on with things quietly, but both are exciting,fun and challenge one to do better. May your gods be with you all !...more info

  • One of those great "coming of age" movies
    My husband of 26 years & I saw this as Juniors in HS. Yes, he was my boyfriend then and still continues to be. I think we both cried our eyes out. I think possibly we were drawn to the movie by the Elton John music in it, but were then swept away by the teenage angst of it all. Paul and Michelle were just about our ages when we saw the movie- so very easy to identify with!!
    It is wonderful to hear that Sean is doing well, I am also in the "helping professions" (an RN). I thought his performance was good and very believable. "Michelle" came across as very sweet, fragile and vulnerable. I think the main theme is that if they didn't have to deal with the "real world" then they could be happy and continue to be in love. How many times have all of us wanted to just have a "Calgon moment". If we all had no outside worries and could just deal with our "basic needs" it could be somewhat easier. I have a 15 yr old daughter and wouldn't have a problem with her seeing this movie.. Kids see so much worse these days that this is very tame.
    For those of you who are trying to locate the CD my husband (a huge Elton John fan) was able to get a 2-CD set which came out in 1992. It is called, "Elton John-rare masters" Polygram studios. This has all the friends songs as well as many others. As far as we know this is the only CD with the "Friends" music. We also had the LP years ago and were thrilled to find the CD. Good luck.
    I recommend this movie for anyone who loves the "young love" theme. I only wish it was on DVD now!! ...more info
  • a mixed bag
    What this movie has going for it is the touching story of two early-teenagers who meet and together flee from their troubles at home and struggle to make a life together and in the process fall in love. There is nudity and simulated sex, but it is handled naturally and tastefully.

    The problem is that the screenplay in which this affecting story is couched has some severe mistakes: First, the gut-punch ending. I won't reveal the ending, but it is both a major downer and not at all credible. What the boy could have done and would have done is fairly obvious to anyone who is watching and taking the story seriously.

    Second, the main character. Deciding to have a main character who is obnoxious at first is a ticklish move for a story to make. This is not the place to discuss how to make this move, but briefly, something has to be done to add an appeal that counterbalances the brat behavior. I would have introduced the new wife and her despicable son at the beginning. Then, the boy's juvenile-delinquent behavior would at least be understandable.

    Third, stopping the story every fifteen minutes for a music interlude. This move has been tried from time to time in movies, going all the way back to "Pot of Gold." It has never worked, and is rarely attempted.

    Someone should put this movie and its sequel on a single DVD and include the music as a separate music video and get it out of the movie.

    Even if these problems were fixed, the movie is still too slow, probably because the screenwriter did not come up with enough events and had to stretch the ones he had. In short, the script is "nothing to be proud of."

    Still, if the story appeals, this movie is worth seeing, and the fact that it is still around after 35 years shows that it has lasting appeal.
    ...more info