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Peppermint Soda (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Diane Kurys' film about two sisters growing up in 1960s France screens in a new digital restoration. Info

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Coming-of-age tales in film and literature have overwhelmingly tended to explore the lives of young men and their struggles dealing with masculinity and identity (Stand By Me, The Outsiders, and Mid90s, to name a few). Last year, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird definitely demonstrated that there is a wide audience that is open to watching movies that examine coming-of-age tropes from a feminine perspective. As popular culture gets more comfortable with themes of feminism and female empowerment, it's an opportune time to revisit French filmmaker Diane Kurys' 1977 film and feature writing debut, Peppermint Soda. This underrated gem screens here in a new digital edition, as part of UW Cinematheque's New French Restorations series.

Drawing from her own youth, Kurys writes a poignant film revolving around two sisters, Anne (Eléonoire Klaerwein) and Frédérique Weber (Odile Michel), growing up in France during the early 1960s. Not unlike the United States during the same period, France was experiencing its share of social and cultural upheaval. Both girls are discovering who they are and how they feel about some of the day's political issues in addition to dating, rocky friendships, and navigating their relationships with their mother. As you might expect from a French film, the drama in Peppermint Soda tends to be understated and pensive. However, Kurys also works in quite a bit of dry humor, making this take on a male-dominated literary trope all the more memorable. —Edwanike Harbour