Autobus 1991

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Marking an early role for the luminous Kristin-Scott Thomas, writer/director Eric Rochant’s Autobus is a hard-to-find gem of teenage angst. Yvan Attal plays French schoolboy Bruno, whose girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg) doesn’t believe he really loves her. In order to get to her in Spain, Bruno decides to hijack a school-bus with 22 kids on board, as well as a unwilling teacher (Scott-Thomas). Bruno’s lack of understanding of action and consequence is clearly naïve, but there’s also a degree of sympathy possible for his anti-social actions, and Autobus develops less like a thriller than a commentary of the foolishness of youth, with Bruno snapped out of his romantic intensity by his growing relationships with the bus’s occupants. Somewhere between Dog Day Afternoon and Speed, Rochant’s film is a rarity, a siege drama with compassion and humanity instead of shoot-outs and action.

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