[CRITICAL] sit up straight

Fifth feature of the French Alain Guiraudie, STAY VERTICAL is perfectly in line with the continuity of his previous, The unknown of the lake (2013), rewarded in Cannes in the selection un certain regard by the Price of the staging. Now, regardless of the track record of this festival, the filmmaker achieved a form of consecration just by being selected for the official competition.

It is a pity to see that fame does not equal necessarily the quality. If I had been able to be moderately satisfied by The unknown of the lake, its dramatic tension and its rigorous aesthetic was a movie intriguing if not perfect. STAY VERTICAL takes up the obsessions of the previous film, but without being carried by the same qualities. The implementation uses registers totally antagonistic (comedy, drama, porn, fantasy, etc) without finding its coherence. Like many French films, the meaning must be deciphered only from the dialogues, often too literary to give the actors a chance to believe in (an echo, not very well mastered at the filmography of Rohmer). The staging of it, kick into touch, invoking turn-based iconography, poetic (quite successful) and porn (I included the scenes of sex and childbirth). Sex, omnipresent in the image, and yet the artificial light of the history that is told, is understood as the ghost of the previous films, Guiraudie, one of his obsessions that he can not get rid of.

From the moment where the author goes into a kind of self-psychoanalysis, the spectator is kindly requested to leave the room. I don’t think Guiraudie wish to offend, but by a imaging raw, front, and without warning, he does that translate to the equivalent of trauma, without filter art. A sex turgid appears in the foreground, without the idea of sexuality is not necessarily brought for us to accept the possibility of this big plan. Regardless of his modesty, one is startled ; the connection is too brutal. Eroticism gives way to an outburst of the heart, like those bad horror movies that over-exploit the opportunities to surprise the audience with the aid of tricks-out (“boo” it was a joke of the best friend hidden in the dark…).

This vision distressing of sexuality, in which the dominant is homosexual, was consistent with his previous film. The unknown lake had dealt very exactly a threat hovering on a gay community to a nudist beach. The monster or the killer could be likened to the feeling of guilt or at risk of AIDS that plunged the characters into a state of excitement mixed with fear. Here, the wolf is just an excuse for a series of collateral effects that form vaguely of a plot. His figure is more metaphorical than embodied in a tangible threat. It is far from the intelligence of a movie like the Rams, which included deftly concrete concerns of breeders with a larger theme, in this case of fraternal ties. No, STAY VERTICAL is to the image of his main character, a screenwriter bohemian heir to a bourgeois culture that runs through the countryside like a tourist lost. His beard of three kilometres that he has acquired between the beginning and the end of the movie is here to prove it : a desire to live as a shepherd, it is a trip of hipster.

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In this travel tale, the peasant world is cartoonish, contaminated by the obsession with homosexual a Guiraudie , which has, it seems, had trouble merely to observe the reality. The forays into the meta, and in the poetry are skits in itself successful, but bring nothing to the film as a whole. The producer of the character-writer harasses him until he writes a draft that they think is great, while the protagonist himself, is bothered by the nullity of the result. Would this be an echo of the difficult birth of this scenario ? It is easy to imagine a Guiraudie powered by the aura of his previous film well evil to write a new one, despite the insistence of his producer. The sentiment at the end of the session is to have attended a first jet, whose claim is caught up in moments, thanks to a form of humour second degree.

Absent so far from this criticism, obviously, we need to talk about the place of fatherhood. Because the point of the film is to show us the “combat” from a single man to raise a child that he did not necessarily desired. The idea is original, and imagine raising a child alone while the wolves prowl around the sheepfold would have to give birth to a thrilling film. But between this idea and the final movie came out to get all these digressions annoying, and useless (imaging porn and the incursion in the meta). Impossible then to remove any scene landmark would acknowledge the relationship between the main character and this baby.

So yes, you can find here and there some nice moments of poetry, but all the same, what a feeling of mess…

Thomas Coispel

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