the highs and lows of a journey upon the path of life.
The road movie genre is one that I dare say you either love or hate and this, the latest work from writer and director Sébastien Lifshitz of Presque Rien fame, will no doubt divide audiences.
Essentially a three relationship piece, it tells the story of the close, perhaps all too close friendship between sister and brother double act Léa and Mathieu and in turn their respective relationships with hitchhiker Jérémie and driver to the trio Sam; a "man on a mission" heading somewhat aimlessly to Spain, haunted as he is by the death of his father, whose suicide he lays firmly at the feet of his mentally unstable mother. Yet and as this journey upon the path of life will prove, she is far from being the only one with issues.
Then again, what is a road movie without its twists and turns. And this is no exception, as we encounter a pregnant teenager unsure of whether to abort or not, to the bittersweet nature of her brothersí relationship with the retribution fixated stranger of the piece, namely a man of few words who prefers to let his fists do the talking. That the scenes between Yannick Renier as Sam and Théo Frilet as smitten Mathieu light up the screen, goes without saying, both having previously starred in Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineauís epic Born in 68. Unfortunately the film comes off worse by casting Renierís character in the dominant role, effectively reducing everyone else to the supporting sidelines.
That Lifshitz takes delight in letting his camera caress the youthful bodies of his cast is all but clear, scenes that and in true French cinema fashion, soon have clothes a-dropping, resulting in some passionate, if sand covered man-on-man action. And yet the whole affair is too darkly shot in parts for my liking, being intercut all too often flashback style with childhood memories of the traumatic kind, as the film slowly meanders south to its inevitable showdown. That scenes of the four enjoying the pleasures to be found on a sun-drenched beach, holiday style, provide a lush counterbalance to their emotional baggage, is reflective of a road trip that and as in real life, is filled with joyous highs and tedious lows, one that here is build upon the linkage stone of motherhood; be it a biological mother, an adoptive mother, a grandmother or a mother to be. Need more be said?
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - the full monty.
Overall - file under ... 3 stars.
screened as part of the 25th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2011
starring: Yannick Renier / Sam, Léa Seydoux / Léa, Nicole Garcia / The Mother, Théo Frilet / Mathieu,
Pierre Perrier / Jérémie, Micheline Presle / The Grandmother, Gérard Watkins / The Father,
Marie Matheron / The Adoptive Mother, Luis Hostalot / Pablo, Ludo Harlay / Sam (child),
Samuel Vittoz / Alex (adult), Quentin Gonzalez / Alex (child), Romain Scheiner /
Sam (teenager), Anne Duverneuil / Lucie and Camille Dupuy as Gaspard.