1981, the dawn of a new era in France. The Socialist candidate François Mitterrand has just been elected president. But while his tiny hometown in Brittany erupts with joy, twenty-year-old Philippe (Thimotée Robart) has other things on his mind: he’ll soon be assessed for mandatory military service and, as every French boy his age, he wants to avoid being drafted at all cost. Philippe lives in the shadow of his charismatic older brother Jerôme (Joseph Olivennes), with whom he launched a pirate radio station. He is a technical genius, obsessed with sounds, recording them and manipulating his recordings to make weird effects on the air during Jerôme’s radio show. Philippe is also obsessed with Marianne, his brother’s girlfriend. So it’s hopeless, of course. Or is it? When Philippe leaves to serve with the French army in Berlin, it’s with a mix tape from Marianne in his pocket...
With his feature debut, which won the 2022 César for Best First Film, director Vincent Maël Cardona -who was born in 1980- crafts an evocative time capsule of an era close to us in years but in many ways now remote, when Europe was divided by an iron curtain and a sequence of songs on a magnetic tape could serve as a declaration of love.
Deploying a stellar soundtrack of European post-punk classics, Cardona juxtaposes the eternal thrills of first love and the frustrations of provincial life with a lovingly specific depiction of a bygone period, lending tremendous emotional immediacy to the lives of those who came of age at the dawn of the 1980s.
Q&A with Richard St Ofle, Screenwriter & Film Professor at Sacramento City College.
With a confident eye behind the camera, "Magnetic Beats" finds its rhythm early on and never loses it. Warren Cantrell - The Playlist
A vividly drawn love letter to analogue technology (that) captures a moment in cultural history poised on the brink of seismic change. Wende Ide - Screen International
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