Ange Dargent plays an apathetic adolescent who seems to take no interest in anything – a typical teenager, you might say. The décor looks like something from an American suburb in a Larry Clark movie, boring and unbelievably depressing, indicating a dreary everyday life suspended between family meals and high-school scenes. But that’s where the similarity ends. This is France; a peri-urban France trapped between outdated flowery wallpaper and wooden furniture that’s gone out of fashion. The character has just tried out an online suicide game inspired by the case of the Blue Whale Challenge. Instructed by an administrator, the game consists of a series of 50 challenges over 50 days. At first relatively innocuous, they gradually shift towards increasingly self-destructive challenges, ending in the final test of the player’s suicide. In a succession of meticulous scenes that stretch the solitary, everyday languor away from youthful effusions, The Masturbator’s Heart accompanies this descent into the abyss. The minimalism of the stiflingly silent still shots is in no way offset by the insidious softness diffused by the 16mm film and the character’s indolent, inscrutable face. The tenderness it hides, like the schedule of the game on which the film’s script is based, might easily trick viewers: isn’t suicide an adolescent obsession, a friend of the melancholy vapours of that awkward phase? As the challenges unfold, behind the doubts about the seriousness of the endeavour there emerges a kind of dull panic for generations whose desires remain locked in their hearts and explode in the world’s face without it understanding a thing.