The latest film from French director François Ozon, Jeaune et Jolie (Young & Beautiful) is a powerful drama about a young girl discovering her sexuality. Marine Vacth plays Isabelle, a teenage girl on summer holidays with her family in the in the south of France. After a brief sexual encounter with a tourist leaves her cold, Isabelle decides she needs more experience – and soon starts working as a prostitute named ‘Lea’, meeting all kinds of clients and seeing her world of sexuality opening before her. The film co-stars Ozon’s regular muse Charlotte Rampling, as well as Géraldine Pailhas and Frédéric Pierrot, and has an original score by Ozon’s regular collaborator Philippe Rombi.
Rombi’s three score cues on the CD amount to just over 11 minutes of music, but they are as wonderful as they always are, a continuation of the beautiful, lyrical style he has shown over the course of his entire career. “Eté” presents the score’s main theme, a dream-like piece for piano and cello augmented by a soft string wash and subtle bells that speaks of gentle romance and summer breezes. “Chambre 6095” begins softly, but gradually increases in power and intensity as it develops, emerging into a dominant, passionate string theme with ground basses and strong, sultry piano chords mimicking the throws of erotic desire the lead character experiences. The conclusive “Jeune et Jolie” restates the main theme in a more fleshed out and grand manner, but has a slightly wistful and thoughtful quality to it that is very appealing.
Although the score is brief, there is still much to be admired about the way Rombi is able to capture complicated emotions through his music, conflicting lust and ecstasy with innocence and tragedy. It’s quite marvelous. The soundtrack album is fleshed out by four undeniably Gallic songs from the popular 1960s singer Françoise Hardy, and handful of other pop efforts that feature within the film, including one – “Midnight City” – written and performed by M83, the pseudonym of composer Anthony Gonzalez, who wrote the score for Oblivion.