Four Days in France, a tour de France in four days
by Gonzalo Suárez
- VENICE 2016: The debut fictional feature by Jérôme Reybaud, which was presented in Critics’ Week, is a road movie full of casual encounters following the trail left by Grindr
One morning, Pierre suddenly decides to leave Paul and go on a journey, without a destination, far from Paris. When he finds out, Paul decides in turn to hire a car and track him down. The rambling of the one and the hounding of the other centre around each of their activities on Grindr, an App famous for facilitating homosexual encounters which works using geolocation technology. This is the original premise for Four Days in France [+see also:
film profile], a debut fictional feature written and directed by Jérôme Reybaud and presented in its world premiere in International Critics’ Week at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
This brief synopsis already shows us the two axes on which the entire film pivots: on the one hand, the relationship between the obsessive and mysterious Pierre (Pascal Cervo) and the desperate Paul (Arthur Igual); on the other, the beautiful landscapes of a less urban France, between Paris, the Southern coast and the Alps, hot on the heels of possibility and following the trail that Grindr leaves the protagonists. The result is a road movie full of casual encounters with more or less charming characters who end up painting a portrait of society that is relatively unusual for French film, predominantly ‘Parisian’ in nature.
All these encounters, even the most unlikely (a second class singer who performs at old people’s homes to make ends meet, a young lover who dreams of moving to the big city, an Italian car enthusiast, a petty thief, etc.) seem to sink in a primordial loneliness, almost a necessary condition for their very existence. But the atmosphere is not reminiscent of those unwholesome and wary atmospheres in works such as Stranger by the Lake [+see also:
interview: Alain Guiraudie
film profile]: in Four Days in France, there’s no latent threat in the singular act of getting to know someone in a more or less natural place, far from everything; on the contrary, this relative unfamiliarity gives rise to unexpected and surprising situations and dialogues, as if the director is trying to tell us that the secret to authenticity lies here, thus making an odyssey lasting four days (and 141 minutes of film) without a destination bearable for audiences, which is no mean feat.
Finally, it should be noted that the original title of the film (Jours de France)is almost identical to that of famous French cycling race the Tour de France, perhaps in an attempt, in support of the previous notion, to create proximity between the audience and the strangers that live in their country.
Four Days in France is a co-production by Chaz Productions in partnership with Groupe TSF and Film Factory, with the participation of the CNC and support from the Centre-Val de Loire region. International sales are being handled by M-Appeal and the film is being distributed in France by KMBO.
(Translated from Spanish)