A young man with anxiety lives a ‘slow’ life. But his roommate lives fast. | Fast

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Fast is used with permission from Paul Rigoux. Learn more at https://en.unifrance.org/movie/56492/fast and https://myfrenchfilmfestival.com.

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Omeleto is partnering with Unifrance to present a selection of short films as part of its My French Film Festival 2024 event. Now in its 14th edition, MyFFF celebrates the breadth and depth of contemporary French cinema. With everything from charmingly poignant animation to naturalistic family dramedy to gritty social realist narratives, these shorts from Unifrance’s catalog demonstrate the stylistic, thematic and intellectual diversity of a rich cinematic heritage, capturing the current tenor of its ever-evolving film culture.

Jean is a young man living in the city, but he’s not suited to the fast tempo of modern city life. Considering himself unsuited to contemporary society, he has built his life to accommodate his anxieties and reflects deeply. Jean’s friend and roommate, Alex, however, lives at a different tempo. Alex is passionate about aerodynamics and dance music, always going from one thing to another and never asking himself many questions.

One morning, Jean’s friend Caroline arrives to spend time with Jean, while Alex’s friend Lou, who is "fast" like Alex, comes over as well. The four friends hang out — much to Jean’s chagrin — and they collide in unexpected ways. Caroline starts to enjoy life in the faster lane, leaving Jean on the outside — until he makes an unlikely connection himself.

Directed and written by Paul Rigoux, this laidback yet acerbic short romantic comedy is about a clash between different ways and philosophies of living. Jean is an introvert prone to reflection and a quieter life; Alex is all about forward motion, zooming from one interest or activity to another. The pair don’t outwardly spar, but they also don’t quite meld, leaving one another to live their lives. But that changes when their respective friends visit, and the young men find themselves hanging out together with their friends as a quartet.

Well-written and directed with a light but knowing touch, the film’s humor and storytelling are smart and observational, rooted in oppositional characters who have to maneuver, live and work with one another in compressed space and time. The film enjoys poking affectionate fun at both Jean’s stolid demeanor and Alex’s ultra-active lifestyle, emphasizing the gulf between the characters, and actor Edouard Sulpice walks a delicately comic line between a serious, thoughtful young man and an occasionally clueless, neurotic one as well.

Yet the sustained interaction with the opposite "tribe" proves bracing, challenging but also intriguing to Jean, a realization that forms the heart of "Fast." Jean is an introvert, and he’s not wrong in thinking life moves a little too fast for all of us. But he learns — especially from Alex’s friend Lou — that he has perhaps been hiding away a bit because of his discomfort with the modern world and the anxieties that come with it. As his connection with Lou grows, he realizes maybe he might need to come out of his shell to take some risks — and live life with just a bit more adrenaline.

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A young man with anxiety lives a ‘slow’ life. But his roommate lives fast. | Fast
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