I was amazed by Alain Guiraudie’s 2016 film, Rester Vertical. (the man is best know for 2013gay-love-thriller L’inconnu du lac / Stranger by the lake)

Du soleil pour les gueux / Sunshine for the Poor was screened last night in Lille as part of a masterclass encounter with the man himself. Nothing beats encounters of this kind, they’re as close as it gets to being in a sports team and have a supercrazed coach motivate the hell out of you at half time. (Because this is where you feel like being stuck in this business of film-making, at half time, almost winning with everything to loose. It’s the best thing, so I don’t complain.) 

From the after screening discussion we got that Du soleil pour les gueux, clocking in a ‘55 was part of a transition period that Guiraudie had, from short to feature film, as the money for his projects kept growing. It actually took him 10 years until he managed to do his first feature. No pressure here.

This film is now research material. It shows in brute form the themes and choices that Guiraudie now masters. The soft balance between realism and fantasy, the open air settings, the sex between different aged people. It felt very theatrical in the delivery of its dialogue. 

A curiosity from the masterclass. He motivated the presence of wolves in Rester Vertical in a completely journalistic, factual fashion. What I found to be as the metaphorissima of the film, he pointed to it as a pure interest on his part towards the wolf as a species in an environment populated by shepherds and stuff. It was my “waaait a minute” moment of the evening. In retrospect, I have a hunch that the man was fooling with us all along. Splendid!