The film begins like the book:
Sylvain Tesson (renamed Pierre) fell several meters while he was fairly drunk climbing the facade of the chalet of his friend and the writer Jean-Christophe Rufin. He was plunged into a coma for several weeks in Annecy hospital. He is the victim of facial paralysis and must practice rehabilitation sessions to regain his motor skills. If he gets out of it, he promises himself to undertake a journey in France from the South-East to the North-West, taking the famous diagonal of the void by the black paths, that is to say the trifle of 1300 kilometers from the Mercantour to in the Cotentin. With in the role of Sylvain Tesson,
Jean Dujardinthen Joséphine Japy, Jonathan Zaccaï, Izia Higelin, Anny Duperey.
For Eric Neuhoff, “it’s completely missed”
Adapting this book to the cinema was a very bad idea according to the film critic of the Figaro who couldn’t help but see Jean Dujardin surfing the wave as Brice de Nice, one of his very first comic roles: “From the start, when we see Dujardin lying in a forest against – diving, that the camera shows us the branches of trees which move in the wind, we say to ourselves that it is very very badly crossed… The problem is that even if Dujardin is not that bad, we have always imagined it in Brice of Nice ! At the end, when Dujardin arrives on the Cotentin beach in front of the sea, one has the impression of being in Nice, that he is in a yellow T-shirt waiting for the wave to surf on it.
Then there are two things that we no longer support in the cinema, it’s the voice-over and the flashbacks which become very embarrassing, we even wonder what that has to do with it. Especially since it spoils all the landscapes that we would like to watch quietly while this guy is walking. It’s a film that constantly drags its feet and doesn’t work at all. For it to be physical, it would have taken someone like Werner Herzog in shape to shoot this film. There, it’s completely failed.”
According to Michel Ciment, the subject was probably not made to be adapted for the screen
The journalist for the magazine Positif, nature is not a subject very well treated in French cinema in general: “I had found “The Snow Panther” extremely pompous, literary and spoiled by a permanent commentary. And there the movie is really unbearable. As far as Dujardin is concerned, he’s an actor who has turned out to be very different from role to role, and he’s a very good actor. If this film has the merit of embodying a discovery of the French landscape in all its diversity, if it succeeds in seducing by the beauty of the shots, it is not very original. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad movie at all, it just an overly ambitious and difficult subject, to wear to the cinema“.
Eva Bettan more indifferent in front of the screen than in front of the novel
The journalist for France Inter regrets that the director did not find the right formula to effectively adapt the eponymous book by Sylvain Tesson: “The writer had found the right formula since he experienced things directly, he There, the filmmaker wants to put in the same film what he is going through, he wants to do everything at the same time, but it doesn’t work.
The best times are when he’s out in the wild. Otherwise if the sentences of Sylvain Tesson find their meaning in a book, in voiceover it does not sound at all. The formula that is not found. The film is not hateful, but it leaves quite indifferent, it’s a shame”.
Despite a good staging, something is missing according to Xavier Leherpeur
For the film critic of 7th Obsession and columnist at France Intersomething is missing from the film which resonates like a draft not fully finalized: “However, the film knows how to remain modest, and it is the exact opposite of Sylvain Tesson. Progressive flashbacks, we don’t have any any need, and they hamper the aridity of the staging and the relationship between man, nature and the setting. It is a very fair film in terms of staging, distance, relationship to the body, relation to the frame, but we would almost have liked an even drier, more arid film. Jean Dujardin is very good even in the voice-over, hoarser at the beginning, more gloomy, more mineral and which becomes more and more fulfilled, but we are a little bit orphaned by a film that we see there lying fallow, but which is not fully devoted to the screen”.
The original band
🎧 Listen to all the reviews exchanged about this film on the set of the Mask and the Feather:
“On the Black Paths” by Denis Imbert
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Sylvain Tesson, “On the dark paths” (Gallimard, 2016)
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