Tempête [Land Legs] (2015)

Tempête
Director: Samuel Collardey
Writer: Catherine Paillé, Samuel Collardey
Cast: Dominique Leborne, Matteo Leborne, Mailys Leborne, Vincent Bessonnet
Part of: Scope100 (last year, I participated in the Scope50 project)
Seen on: 1.1.2016

Plot:
Dom (Dominique Leborne) is trying his best to keep the family together. In this case family means him and his two teenaged children Matteo (Matteo Leborne) and Mailys (Mailys Leborne). But life isn’t exactly easy. Dom dreams of having his own boat for fishing, meanwhile he is stuck on other people’s ships, spending weeks at a time without seeing land or his kids. Then he finds out that Mailys is pregnant and it throws both of them. Maybe Dom has to give up his dream of the sea and stay with Mailys and Matteo.

Tempête’s setting is unusual and shows unusual people (whose normalcy is what makes them unusual in the first place. That’s the film’s major strength. Unfortunately other than that it just didn’t manage to make me enthusiastic. I liked it and it certainly wasn’t bad, but it never outperforms “nice”.

tempete

Apparently Collardey met Dominique Leborne first and then decided to make a film with him. How closely Dominique-the-actor’s life resembles Dom-the-character’s, I couldn’t say, although there seems to be at least a little parallel since the three protagonists share their actors’ names. In any case I can understand wanting to shoot with Dominique Leborne. He has a quiet sort of charisma that makes him rather exciting to watch.

I particularly liked how his fatherhood was shown: he is very close to Mailys, although – as it turns out later – she isn’t even his daughter by blood. When she finds out that she’s pregnant, of course he goes to the doctor with her. Their relationship isn’t perfect or even free of tension, but there’s a strong trust between them. With Matteo, it’s different. They relate to each other as men and they definitely share more interests than Mailys and Dom, but nevertheless their relationship isn’t quite as special as the one between Dom and Mailys. And when Social Services gets involved, you can see how much Dom is willing to fight for his children. [Not that Social Services is portrayed as the big bad here. Instead it was a refreshingly normal take on what they do.]

tempete1Collardey holds back as the director and lets the events and above all the characters unfold slowly. That is particularly unusual since neither of them is particularly upper class – and working class people more often than not are rather ridiculed in films and/or shown as stupid. None of that is the case here and neither is Dom’s motivation a guarantee for success. Sometimes circumstances are just against you, even if you try very hard. Especially when you don’t start from a great position to begin with.

But despite all those good things about the film, it just didn’t enthuse me. I enjoyed watching it, but I never really got very emotional about it. Maybe I just caught it on the wrong day, maybe it ran just a little long. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend watching it.

tempete2Summarizing: I hope you connect with it more than I did, you should certainly try.

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