Title: Cycling with Molière Director: Philippe Le Guay Year: 2013 Run time: 1hr 44m
“A once great actor, Serge Tanneur, has retired from the limelight. Too much pressure meant that one day, he simply decided he would act no more. For the past three years, he has lived in solitude on the Île de Ré, spending his time cycling through the windswept landscape. Fellow actor Gauthier Valence, whose career is flying high, is planning a production of Molière’s play The Misanthrope and wants to offer Serge the title role.”
4:23 - Why do people always walk in and leave the door open behind them? 5:49 - “I don’t like being connected, I like being independent.” Hmm. I like being both! 9:17 - I’m picking up some words. Cheval. Moi. That kind of thing. 9:52 - “A wonderful woman called Christine.” I knew I loved this film. 17:41 - Woah, that’s a messy guest room! Although I’ve had rooms like that, I get it. 19:28 - Euros! 24:09 - Lots of scarves in this. I need more scarves. 29:22 - “I do, but no one has the number.” That would be Mr C, right there. 31:07 - Hehe, they’re like us. Workshopping, criticising, arguing. 39:33 - “I’m not in the mud.” So awesome. 46:53 - Love how little random bits keep popping up like that. 48:00 - Her boyfriend’s called Cookie? Bet he’s a monster. 55:47 - It’s hard to read the subtitles on the beach, they haven’t thought that through. 1:06:57 - Drowning in the jacuzzi, what a way to go. 1:09:15 - Comtë! Totally just discovered that one ourselves. 1:20:51 - That’s an amazing road for cycling on. Between two bits of water. 1:28:01 - Shutters seem like a genius idea. 1:34:03 - He looks weird without the beard.
It’s far from a secret that my obsession over all things French continues to grow, and it was only a matter of time before it entered our film life as well. There have been a couple of French trailers appear on the iTunes store, and they eventually arrived to rent. This, with that guy out of the Matrix, seemed like a reasonably entry point into the world of subtitles.
I really enjoyed it. It made Film Watch slightly harder, because looking away to type some notes meant missing a subtitle or two, but that wasn’t really an issue. Reading the subtitles felt very natural, as I’ve done that on English programmes for a long time anyway. I loved listening to the spoken French, picking out the bits I could understand (not a lot), and revelling in the language of it all.
The story itself was great, intriguing with wonderful characters and a sense of wonder throughout. There were some great shots too, with lovely surroundings in both sunshine and rain. It was funny but not over the top, calm and natural instead. Neither of us are particularly clued up on Molière and I don’t know if some knowledge there would have helped us enjoy it more, but even without it was great. I particularly liked that it didn’t come to a happy ending but was still a very satisfying conclusion.