“Suddenly alone”: a couple on borrowed time in the middle of the storm

“Suddenly alone”: a couple on borrowed time in the middle of the storm

Movies

Renowned screenwriter – A Prophet , by Michel Audiard (2009), La Famille Bélier , by Eric Lartigau (2014), Notre-Dame burns , by Jean-Jacques Annaud (2022) – Thomas Bidegain had already attempted the big leap into director with Les Cowboys , in 2015. He is diving back today with Suddenly Alone , adapted from the novel of the same name by Isabelle Autissier, a rather unexpected survival film in French cinematography. Which takes up the narrative arc of the previous one, which looked towards the contemporary western: a tragic accident reveals a family fissure, which commands an obsessive romantic quest for survival and repair.

Two good actors are at work here, Gilles Lellouche and Mélanie Thierry. Consider Ben and Laura, a couple in their forties who are traveling around the world by boat, an experience beyond the reach of a common condition, of which, however, only a few shots are needed to understand that it truly responds to one of the best shared situations in the world: water in the couple’s gas. Beginning in medias res , right in the middle of the ocean and the diffuse unease which surrounds this supposedly pleasant journey, the action suddenly changes with the arrival of black clouds announcing a squall.

Ben immediately decides to land on a lost island in the Southern Hemisphere (the film is shot in Iceland, so that a similar landscape can be found there) in order to temporarily take shelter. Laura, suddenly out of a passivity that left her as if withdrawn from her companion’s initiatives, begins to ask herself questions about the merits of this trip. She will be sure to ask more questions when the situation worsens. Taking refuge in a cave to let the storm pass, the couple no longer found their boat in the early morning, carried away by the waves. All they have left, in all and everything, is a boat with a bottom of gasoline, zero provisions and their eyes to cry.

Earthly inhospitality

As for the island, it is not laughing. Mineral, leaden, desert, beaten relentlessly by the waves and winds, blocked by a mountain which hides the other side, it does not give hope, as winter approaches, of better days. From these natural elements Thomas Bidegain, pushing the cursors, makes a dark and infernal sound and light of earthly inhospitality. So, the primitive funds are going back on two fronts. First, we must feed ourselves, hunt, protect ourselves from the cold, plug the gaps, and make the instruments necessary for these tasks with almost nothing. Then there is the other, who no longer appears in the same light. Laura, who begins to doubt that this guy manages as much as he gives the impression. Ben, who wonders if this woman even knows why she is with him. The times of painful truths and mistrust will gradually give way to times of common exhaustion, of cold and starvation, of the abandonment of all hope.

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