Director: Alain Guiraudie. Starring: Damien Bonnard, India Hair, Raphael Thiery. Running Time: 98 min. Release date: April 21 ( on DVD May 30 )
The new French film Staying Verticalby prominent queer director Alain Guiraudie, who also wrote the screenplayis heading to the Gene Siskel Film Center April 21-27.
Leo, played by Damien Bonnard, is a film writer who encounters a shepherdess named Marie, portrayed by actress India Hair. After a love affair, a baby is born. Marie takes her other children and abandons Leo with a brand-new son. He meets a variety of characters over the second half of the film.
Sex and sexuality is depicted throughout. Guiraudie is not afraid to show full nudity, bold sex acts and a graphic birth scene.
There are mysteries revealed and discoveries along the way of the journey. Leo being unlikable is part of the problem. He shirks his responsibilities as a father some of the time and lands himself in a load of trouble.
Ever counted sheep before? That is the pace set by this movie, which will work the nerves of many watchers. Some art-house lovers will feel right at home watching this story unfold, while some will be find it a yawn. Fans of French cinema will like the way Guiraudie injects his personal struggles into the plot. The characters are complex and unique.
Many may also admire the original storyline of Staying Vertical and the risks the director takes, but it left my mind wandering out to pasture.