Taglines: He was 15. She was 40. Love is where you find it.
Mary-Jane asks, “Do all women fall in love with a boy, or just those without sons?” She’s divorced with two daughters, Lucy and Loulou. Lucy has a party where Mary-Jane notices Julien, 14, small and brassy, but she sees a sensitive side. She contrives to spend time with him and lets him know she’s available to him.
He’s on the cusp between child and man, alternating between playing a video game, Kung Fu Master, where he tries to rescue Sylvie, and joining friends in bluff talk about sexual exploits. As Lucy realizes what is happening, she’s repulsed, but Mary-Jane, encouraged by her own mother, carries on. Is it love or jealousy of lost youth? Is there any way this can end well?
Kung Fu Master is a 1988 French drama film directed by Agnès Varda and starring Jane Birkin, Mathieu Demy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lou Doillon, Gary Chekchak, Cyril Houplain, Eva Simonet, Judy Campbell, Aurélien Hermant and Jérémie Luntz. It was entered into the 38th Berlin International Film Festival. It was retitled as Le Petit Amour in France.
About the Story
Mary-Jane (Jane Birkin) comes across Julien (Mathieu Demy) during a party her teenage daughter Lucy throws at their home. Julien has drunk too much and Mary-Jane induces vomiting to help him feel better. Intrigued by him she goes to visit Lucy at school to see if she can see him again and almost hits him with her car.
On the pretext of seeing if he’s alright Mary-Jane takes Julien to a café where he plays his favourite arcade game, Kung Fu Master. Intrigued by Julien and knowing she wants to see him again Mary-Jane goes looking for other places with the game. Before she can think of another reason to see Julien however he comes to her home and they spend the day together shopping. At the end of the day Julien kisses Mary-Jane’s hand.
At school Julien and Lucy must work together on a project and because he is so eager to work on the project she thinks that he has a crush on her. Mary-Jane and Julien continue to think of ways to be near one another. When Mary-Jane overhears Lucy talking about Julien missing school she visits his home to give him his homework and allows him to fondle her breast. Later he invites her out to celebrate with him and takes her to a hotel where he kisses her. Mary-Jane tepidly resists but later slaps him after he begins smoking in the elevator and runs away from him.
While working on a project with Lucy, Julien learns that Lucy is going to England with her family over the upcoming holidays. Julien manages to get Lucy to invite him along. On Easter, while she is hiding eggs, Mary-Jane is surprised by Julien. The two end up kissing and are discovered by Lucy who is horrified by the fact that her mother is kissing a 14 year old boy.
After telling her mother what has happened, Mary-Jane is encouraged by her to take Julien and her youngest daughter Lou to a remote island where the family owns a home to try and play out their flirtation. On the island the two of them declare their love for one another and enjoy a close relationship. At the end of their time on the island Mary-Jane worries that she’ll lose Julien and he’ll forget about her but he promises to love her forever.
Kung Fu Master – Le Petit Amour (1988)
Directed by: Agnès Varda
Starring: Jane Birkin, Mathieu Demy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lou Doillon, Gary Chekchak, Cyril Houplain, Eva Simonet, Judy Campbell, Aurélien Hermant, Jérémie Luntz
Screenplay by: Jane Birkin, Agnès Varda
Cinematography by: Pierre-Laurent Chénieux
Film Editing by: Marie-Josée Audiard
Makeup Department: Edith Remy
Set Decoration by: Philippe Bernard
Music by: Joanna Bruzdowicz
Distributed by: Expanded Entertainment
Release Date: March 9, 1988