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FILMS Belgium

Un homme à la mer: To leave only to come back


- Hélicotronc is releasing the second feature by Géraldine Doignon, Un homme à la mer, starring Yoann Blanc and Jo Deseure

Un homme à la mer: To leave only to come back

Mathieu is a marine biologist. A man over the age of 35, he spends his time looking through his microscope, cutting up the miniscule carcasses of dead marine organisms. His real passion in life was being at sea, suffice it to say that he’s not happy shut away in his laboratory. Although he loves Agathe, their relationship doesn’t seem to satisfy him, as if Mathieu were a spectator looking in on his own life. An unexpected event then suddenly changes everything: Christine, his mother-in-law, runs away. Driven by impulse and curious to understand her, Mathieu goes in search of her, without telling anyone. He finds her in a house by the sea, with the same desire he has to regain control of his life. Intoxicated by this taste of sudden freedom, he slowly but surely casts off, only to return to port. 

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Un homme à la mer [+see also:
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is a rite of passage, a physical journey, born out of an irresistible attraction to the open sea, the ocean, where anything is possible. It is an inner journey, the quest for meaning and desire by two people in distress who no longer identify with the lives they lead. It is a journey towards the other, the convergence of two lonely souls, in which an unlikely friendship is born that is nonetheless rich in discovery. These different journeys are grasped by the director through the sensorial prism, contact with the subject, water, nature, sound and sight. The music is very important, as it allows us to move from one stage to the next in the heart of these inner journeys. We travel the path alongside Mathieu, at his level, following his gaze, following in his footsteps. The path is a smooth one, on which we are at the whim of encounters, without great disruption or secrets. Mathieu and Christine are looking, above all, to find out who they are. And to better do this, they must take a step back from themselves, make a slight digression. The interest of this unexpected confrontation also lies in the inkling that this digression could take hold at any moment, whether it’s on the brink of retirement for Christine, or the cusp of adult life for Mathieu.

This sensorial quest for identity is righteously seen through by the two main characters. For the lead roles, the director chose actors with whom she had already worked. In the role of Mathieu, Géraldine Doignon chose to once again put her faith in Yoann Blanc, an actor often seen on stage, who she also cast in De leur vivant, and who recently played inspector Yoann Peeters in successful TV series La Trêve. Playing Christine is Jo Deseure, who Doignon previously directed in her short film Le Syndrôme du Cornichon. Yoann Blanc blooms as the film goes on, modelled on a Mathieu who leaves surly, and by opening himself up to otherness, opens up to himself in the process. Jo Deseure, meanwhile, brings an unsettling mix of wisdom and naivety to the tale. 

The film was produced by Hélicotronc and Kizmar Films, in co-production with Fontana and RTBF, with the support of the Film and Audiovisual Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Charente-Maritime Department and the Poitou-Charentes Region, in partnership with the CNC, the Francophone Film Development Fund and the Tax Shelter. The film is being distributed by Hélicotronc, which will release the film in a handful of theatres in Brussels and Wallonia.

(Translated from French)

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