Young and Alive ★★

One nice thing to say about this activist documentary, filmed in Paris in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, is that it has palpable energy. Stopping to interview a cross-section of French youth throughout its nocturnal journeys, it moves from the clubs to the streets, seeking signs of political consciousness. Bareyre’s approach is often strained, including, for example, footage of a drinking game that invokes Monica Lewinski in order to keep everything on screen vaguely tapped into the zeitgeist. There’s also the worry that despite its willingness to look at people of various races, genders, and classes, there’s really only news footage and unidentified police officers on screen to represent the opposition. As L’époque floats from rave to riot, it reveals anxieties about powerlessness, but even in its depictions of political protest it feels about as lost as most of its subjects.