This is a movie which is charming and light-hearted – just what is needed for the holiday season.
Antoinette (Laure Calamy, in her first starring film, and she plays a major role in the Netflix series “Call my Agent”) is a vivacious 40ish primary school teacher who plans a romantic week in Paris with her secret lover Vladimir (Benjamin Lavernhe) who is the father of one of her pupils.
Their plans are halted when Vladimir’s wife (Olivia Cote) books a six day family hike, with a donkey to carry supplies, through the beautiful Cevennes National Park countryside. Impulsively, and with no experience, Antoinette decides to surprise him by going on the same journey with a grey donkey called Patrick, who often stubbornly refuses to move.
She meets up with a group of fellow travellers and reveals the reasons for her trip – and her reputation precedes her along the trail. It is the subject of conversation whenever she meets up with other hikers.
Along the journey she develops a bond with Patrick, gaining his cooperation by telling him her life story and her ability to fall in love with “the worst possible guys”.
At night, if she is not too exhausted, she reads a book made famous by Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island). In 1879. He wrote Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes “in order to surrender himself to that fine intoxication that comes from much motion in the open air that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness in the brain, and ends in a peace that passes comprehension”.
Director/writer Caroline Vignal has made a film where Antoinette and Patrick are in just about every frame. It is a comedy in which the journey and not the destination is the reward. Simon Beaufils was the cinemaphotographer.
You can find the Robert Louis Stevenson Track (GR70) on Google Earth.
French language with English subtitles.
Showing at UWA Somerville, Crawley, Monday 21 to Thursday 24 December at 8 pm. Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 December at 8 pm.
Watch the trailer…