Compelling, fierce and darkly romantic, this expressionist first feature is a stylised fairy tale about young marginals stylishly shot in the stunning landscape of the Côte d'Azur. Part idealised love story, part hard-edged portrait of wild youth, it swims determinedly against the 'realist' tide of recent, cutting-edge French film-making. Related in flashback from a palatial Monte Carlo villa where 14-year-old offender Orso (Malgras) has holed up, it builds up a jaggedly poetic portrait of Orso's doomed attraction to fellow tarnished angel Marie (Giocante). Pradal takes his performances from amateurs/non-professionals as much for their rawness, power and beauty as for the sake of authenticity. Employing fluid, sensuous, saturated colour 'Scope cinematography and heightened use of sound, he presents a rhapsodic tragedy out of an almost Blake-like vision. The result is a strange, oneiric mood piece, less concerned with conventional narrative than with an individualistic, pagan exploration of the mechanics of fate and destiny, the casual savagery of life, and the lost grace of innocents.