Going South  {Plein Sud}
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Going South
Plein Sud

France, 2009, 90 Minute Running Time
Bay Area Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Gay, Parenting / Family, Youth
Program: World Cinema
Language: French

DIRECTOR: S├ębastien Lifshitz

It’s summertime, and the kids are heading to the beach for the French version of spring break. Brother and sister Matthieu and Léa have hitched a ride with Sam — an older, brooding Heathcliffe type with a gun in a plastic bag and a troubled past. When Léa’s attempt to seduce him fails, she picks up a third hitchhiker, the handsome oaf Jérémie. Now it’s Matthieu’s turn to move in on strong and silent Sam.

Simple seaside pleasures — sand, sun, a bonfire — contrast sharply with the characters’ emotional turmoil in this taut psychological drama. Sam isn’t the only one with a secret. Matthieu and Léa are also using this carefree road trip to flee their problems. As the quartet speed down the road in Sam’s Ford, flashbacks show up like sudden storm clouds, giving glimpses of Sam’s tumultuous childhood and the shocking moment of violence he can’t forget. Alternately ignoring and actively rejecting Matthieu’s courtship, Sam’s feelings remain an enigma, until a game of nude wrestling is taken to its logical conclusion.

Director Lifshitz, whose Teddy-award winning Wild Side screened at Frameline28, skillfully explores the way family ties can both support and strangle you. His raw, almost documentary-like cinematography takes on a lyrical beauty as the restless Sam moves from France to Spain in search of some kind of peace. — MONICA NOLAN

Text Voting Code: F115


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