|STAYING VERTICAL (RESTER VERTICAL) (director/writer: Alain Guiraudie; cinematographer: Clajre Mathon; editor: Jean-Christophe Hym; cast: Idia Hair (Marie), Damien Bonnard (Leo), Raphiel Thiery (Jean-Louis), Christian Bouuillette (Marcel), Laure Calamy (Dr. Mirande), Basile Meilleurat (Yoan), Sebastien Novac (The Producer); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sylvie Pialat/Benoît Quainon; Strand Releasing; 2016-France-in French with English subtitles)|
|"Oddball experimental dreamy film that offers
some comical and serious observations over sex and
life and wolves."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The French auteur Alain Guiraudie ("The King of Escape"/"The Stranger by the Lake") is writer-director of this oddball experimental dreamy film that offers some comical and serious observations over sex and life and wolves. It vied for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
A French screenwriter, Leo (Damien Bonnard), looking for inspiration, goes on location in the rural parts of the south of France to write a movie. He drives his Renault over the rough terrain, where he falls for a wild farm gal. She warns him there are wolves in the hills. Leo tries to build a relationship with the young free-spirited shepherdess Marie (Idia Hair), who lives in the farmhouse with her two young sons and her crabby vile father Jean-Louis (Raphaël Thiéry). After she gives birth to his child, he shows no interest in them both--coming and leaving at will, as he lusts after the beautiful young man Yoan (Basile Meilleurat). The lad's older sugar daddy (Christian Bouillette), a Pink Floyd fan, eyes Leo. The miffed Marie takes her two older boys and abandons him and his child, and the unlikable Leo is left to raise the kid by himself.
The unpredictable bizarre film is filled with surprises from the likes of a healer (Laure Calamy) using plant therapy, to hordes of homeless men living at an underpass in Brest (where the film was shot) who in a zombie-like attack leave Leo naked, to Leo's anxious producer (Sebastien Novac) who tells him by phone he will only pay when the screenplay is completed.
There's something messy always going on, and even the anal sex, the graphic child birth and the startling ending with the wolves are not quite what you might expect in this engaging but difficult to like arthouse allegory.
REVIEWED ON 4/29/2018 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ