Films: 4 Days in France review by Jack Cline
This French gay drama has an inventive story, with characters and themes that resonate even though then filmmaking is infuriatingly indulgent. So while plot meanders aimlessly through a series of oddly symbolic sequences, it’s intriguing enough to keep us gripped.
The story starts as Pierre (Pascal Cervo) leaves his boyfriend Paul (Arthur Igual) in the middle of the night, driving out of Paris without a destination in mind. He hooks up for shags with a hot young guy, reconnects with a former teacher and meets some oddballs along the way. Meanwhile, Paul uses Grindr to triangulate his position, following him across the country and into the mountains.
Filmmaker Jerome Reybaud never offers any backstory, so we don’t know if Pierre and Paul are in a longterm relationship or a casual fling. The people and places they visit represent a cross-section of France, and each encounter is like a short film that’s disconnected from the rest of the narrative.
So while it’s difficult to engage with what happens over a long two and a half hours, there’s a dark intrigue to hold the attention, plus some surprisingly sexy moments along the way. And the open-handed approach challenges you to discover your own meaning.