Artfully shot in black and white, graphic novelist and filmmaker Nine Antico’s Playlist is a hip and personal study of a Parisian twentysomething’s quest for fulfilment in love and work.
Sophie, excellently portrayed by Sara Forestier, is a graphic artist working as a waitress to make ends meet. She is independent, playful and inventive, while the film follows her through struggles at work, several short-lived crushes, and the termination of an unexpected pregnancy.
Such challenges are important to the narrative, but are speedily portrayed, with details going unshown. This contrasts scenes of seemingly less significance, which are more thoroughly filled out. A routine dental exam is explained in greater depth than the abortion. We aren’t privy to her artwork until the end credits, but a mattress shopping trip is fleshed out in scientific detail.
The choice to speed through the finer print is surprisingly effective in making the film feel more intimate, as it emphasises the voyeuristic quality to watching such a personal film. The filmmaker had hinted at the film’s autobiographical nature, and there are allusions to art reflecting life throughout, most obviously when a more successful graphic artist is interviewed about his own work. In an audition scene, Sophie’s best friend Julia (Laetitia Dosch) lives out a very specific future that she’d envisioned, further blurring the distinction between fiction and reality.
Ultimately the film’s very personal nature, humour and style are enough to engagingly colour its runtime. An unnecessary narration breaks its spell at times, but there’s enough magic in the story, and Forestier’s performance, to keep viewers glued to the screen throughout.