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Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:41 am
by hengcs

Director: Andre Techine
Cast: Emmanuelle Bart, Gaspard Ulliel, Leprince-Ringuet, Clemence Meyer

Hmmm, I can't seem to locate arsaib4's review on this board. So, I have decided to start a new thread. I shall let arsaib4 write the synopsis ... hiaks hiaks ...

Apparently, the film is based on the French novel "The Boy With Grey Eyes" by Gilles Perrault.

What I like ...
-- In particular, I like the three major characters ... Emmanuelle Bart, Gaspard Ulliel, Leprince-Ringuet ... an excellent cast ...
-- It is a character and relationship driven film ... despite that, there is some extent of plot driven too (as the audience tries to figure out who Yvan is ...)
-- It has some issues for us to think about ... such as trust, love and life ... in various aspects and levels ... wow
-- I also like the initial scenes when the music will suddenly halt when they depict scenes of war in black and white ...

What may be problematic ...
-- If you are going in expecting a film with lots of bombs and battles, you may be disappointed ...

Hey, I actually like and recommend the film.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:20 am
by arsaib4
[Here's my old post]

Strayed (Les gars) starts out with Odile (Emmanuelle Bart), a beautiful young widow, dodging German bombs on her way out of Paris along with her two young kids. The year is 1940 and the German occupation of France has begun. When an air-strike forces them to leave their car on the road, help comes unexpectedly in a form of a wily youngster named Yvan (Gaspard Ulliel), who's aware of the situation and has something to offer to the bourgeois family he's just saved: survival skills. After breaking into an abandoned house they try to resemble a makeshift family.

Sounds simple enough, but thats Tchin for you. The outside war is just an overture for him to isolate his characters and then map out their internal feelings for each other. Odile is initially leery of the uncivilized Yvan, and tries to regulate him using various methods not knowing that the situation at hand is causing her to gradually lose control herself. In the meantime, her older son Phillipe (Grgoire Leprince-Ringuet) starts seeing a father figure in Yvan who has helped them through this ordeal.

Andr Tchin has always been a master at economically depicting the struggles of his characters whether they're about class, sexuality or simply survival, and as I mentioned earlier, especially in isolated settings. In his masterful 1984 effort Wild Reeds, it was the lonely dormitory which served as the site for his youth to activate their personal wars while the French/Algerian war raging on far from it; another prime example would be in Loin where the isolated route between the two continents served as a emotional hybrid for his two protagonists.

Tchin mentioned in an interview about the film that "The war is present from the beginning of the film. It is the root of the story. It haunts the film. Archive images resurface. The characters are fleeing from this war, and its from the moment where they lose their bearings entirely that I felt ready to follow them in their adventure on film. The place they move into becomes a sort of desert island where they are like the first or the last or the only people on Earth. How will they manage to live together?"

Strayed premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2003 (in-competition). It went on to garner 4 Csar (French Oscar) nominations, including one for Claire Denis' DP Agns Godard, who brilliantly creates a lush and calm look to the film which rightfully serves in contrast to its growing unrest. Andre Tchin has worked with Miss. Bart before; it was in the little seen Jembrasse Pas (I Dont Kiss), a film in which the filmmaker poetically explored the fragile psyche of his star just like he does in Strayed. And Bart is up to the challenge with her exquisitely nuanced performance.

The DVD of the film was released on November 23rd (2004) by Wellspring.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:40 am
by trevor826
Strayed (2003) Les gars

Directed by Andr Tchin (Rendez-vous, Alice et Martin)

Starring Emmanuelle Bart (Histoire de Marie et Julien), Gaspard Ulliel (Un long dimanche de fianailles)

Strayed (2003) Les gars

Directed by Andr Tchin (Rendez-vous, Alice et Martin)

Starring Emmanuelle Bart (Histoire de Marie et Julien), Gaspard Ulliel (Un long dimanche de fianailles)

I cant say Strayed is a good film, it isnt, it is an excellent study of social interaction that is relayed in such a subtle manner that it will stay with you. They say a picture can paint a thousand words and that is true, with this film though its a case of a few words can paint a thousand pictures, a few words can change your whole perception of someone and can hit you with such a force and at times, such pain.

In a film of subtle interchanges, of barriers and masks, the few moments of utter open honesty remain as powerful points, that is why despite the similarities in situation between Strayed and Bon Voyage, it is Strayed that I know I will watch again and again down the years.

The plot is fairly simple and straightforward, a mother and her children flee Paris along with thousands of other families as the German army approaches. Due to a strafing attack by an enemy aircraft they have to abandon their car and are helped to safety by a young man who is also escaping. The rest of the film covers the period up until the armistice between France and Germany and the survival of this small group.

Thats just the framework that holds this film together.

The true story is about people, the masks worn, the barriers or walls we build to protect ourselves and others, the lies we need to tell and to believe to get through the harsher aspects of life, its also about love, trust and breaking down those barriers between us.

Odile (Emmanuelle Beart) was a teacher in Paris, her two children are intelligent and have lead a pretty carefree existence, you could say theyve been spoiled. Her husband was killed very early in the war; a fact that her son knows but the truth has been masked from the much younger daughter.

After the air attack on the refugee column, their lives are saved by a young man who pulls them away from the road into the cover of a nearby forest. He seems like a lively guy and is definitely more knowledgeable about surviving off the land. The children see a strength that can help them but to Odile, something isnt quite right and she feels very wary of him, a mistrust, a fear, part of which is because her strength as a parent, leader has diminished. The young man, Yvan is a survivor, a pathfinder, a hunter. Despite all her education she is lost and must depend on his feral knowledge.

Through Yvans skills the family find a house that can act as a temporary shelter away from the war but the film doesnt let you forget the situation that has been the driving force in bringing this small group together. Black and white shots of French troops in disarray are interspersed throughout the film, indeed the group is interrupted by the sudden arrival of two French soldiers retreating to the South but that is only a temporary intrusion.

As said earlier, the strength of Strayed is in the interaction of the characters and how much is left unsaid, but even the best script can succeed or fail by its delivery. The performances of the central characters are utterly absorbing; no melodramatics just beautifully acted allowing the story to suck you in and by the odd singular remark, the barriers, the masks slip allowing the truth to break free, no matter how fleetingly.

Special mention should also be made of the lighting and camerawork, which struck me with their naturalness whether in the dimness of the house and the evening light or the colours and brightness of the countryside.

You may gather by my comments that I give Strayed a very strong recommendation, its not often that a film can touch you in such a way especially when the most intimate or subtlest of moments can, just by a few words grab you, twist your perceptions and stay with you.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

R2 dvd released by Soda Pictures, unfortunately the only extra is a trailer.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:53 pm
by A
Now I absolutely have to see this film! Thanks for your wonderfully enthusiastic take Trevor.
Have added it to my exclusive "to see"- list.
Like many more demanding films, this one hasn't found its way to german cinemas. But it had a run in Switzerland, and it was in a swiss film magazine were I first read a great review of it. The screenshots also looked beautiful.
I just revisited the wonderful screenshots, hah..
The best one is a magnificent shot of the for people fleeing through a field of wheat(?). And Gaspard Ulliel kissing Beart on the neck...
No wonder that the camerawork is great, as one of my favorite cinematographers did it: Agnes Godard!

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:02 am
by arsaib4
"its not often that a film can touch you in such a way especially when the most intimate or subtlest of moments can, just by a few words grab you, twist your perceptions and stay with you."

Very nice. It's obvious that you appreciated it quite a bit. Thanks for the review.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:25 am
by trevor826
Just keep on recommending such wonderful films, this could easily have Strayed out of my sight due to the lack of attention it has received elsewhere.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:55 pm
by arsaib4
Thanks for taking the time to watch it, which is all one could ask for. But I couldn't be happier about the fact that you liked it.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:00 am
by hengcs
it is often a bet when we bought the tickets to watch a film ... not to mention the travelling time and the 2 hrs of screening time ... sometimes we win ... sometimes we dont ...
hee hee

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:41 pm
by trevor826
I was surprised at some of the mediocre professional reviews for Strayed, quite disappointing really. I've never spent time in a chidrens home but I know that if this film was shown to a theatre full of people who had been institutionalised, by the time it had finished, the place would be a cascade of tears.

That's not even touching on Emmanuelle Beart's wonderful performance.

Not sure which Andr Tchin film to see next though, Rendez-Vous or Les Roseaux sauvages.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Strayed (Les gars) (2004) (France)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:18 pm
by arsaib4
Tchin's films are extremely low-key, they rarely if ever attempt to overwhelm the viewer in a conventional sense. The ending of Strayed is devoid of exclamation points, one of the reasons why it's so affecting.

Both Rendez-vous and Les Roseaux sauvages are excellent. The former also contains a great performance from Binoche.