In the vein of such classic coming-of-age classics as François Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows,” Diane Kurys’ “Peppermint Soda” captures a particular moment in the tumultuous life and development of young people. Anne (Eléonore Klarwein) and Frederique (Odile Michel) are sisters entering their teen years in 1963 France, torn between divorced parents and struggling with the confines of their strict school. Along the way, they undergo an awakening both political and romantic. Kurys’ celebrated film revels in the comedy and tragedy of the seemingly mundane, weaving a complex tapestry of everyday existence that also touches on the universal.
Robert Abele in the LA Times writes: “Aspiring filmmakers struggling with how to be specific yet universal — especially when it comes to material steeped in autobiography — should do themselves a favor and get to know French filmmaker Diane Kurys’ wonderfully unsentimental, captivating 1977 debut, ‘Peppermint Soda,’ which chronicles a year in the life of two teenage sisters, children of divorce, and was drawn from Kurys’ own girlhood…. The film is a kinetic slideshow of incipient maturity’s roiling promise that Kurys makes both era-vivid (hello early ’60s) and timelessly appealing (hello grades, teachers, parents, boys, freedom and politics). Especially for audiences who took to Bo Burnham’s summer indie hit ‘Eighth Grade,’ a heart-stopping time capsule about an outcast middle schooler, the tart, clear-eyed observations and swerving realities in Kurys’ coming-of-age classic make for a fitting hands-across-the-generations companion piece.”
With an introduction and post-film discussion by Jean-Louis Pautrot, professor of French and international studies at Saint Louis University.
Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation