Diane Kurys’s autobiographical first film about the 1963-64 school
year in the lives of two teenage sisters in Paris has reached a hallowed
place in French culture: the film’s infectious mixture of nostalgia and
rebellion led to an unexpected box office success upon its release in
1977 and has ensured its continued relevance to subsequent generations.
In describing the rocky relationship between fifteen-year-old
Frédérique and thirteen-year-old Anne, the daughters of a divorced
Jewish shopkeeper, Diane Kurys pays meticulous attention to detail,
stringing together a series of delicate vignettes that have the flavor of
lived experience. While Anne is a dreamy troublemaker, still somewhere
between childhood and her body’s rapidly approaching maturity,
Frédérique is discovering boys and politics in the heated context of
Algerian independence. Set in an all-girls school and an exclusively
female household, Peppermint Soda is squarely focused on the female
experience. Its story is clearly anchored in its time—a radio announcement
brings news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy—but its
reach is universal, speaking to every woman who ever worried about
when she would finally get her period and to the men who wonder
what it’s like for a girl.

Diane Kurys

Diane Kurys

Eléonore Klarwein
Odile Michel
Anouk Ferjac

Drama, Comedy
French with English
101 min.
France, 1977
DCP, DVD, Blu-Ray

Cohen Film Collection/
Cohen Media Group