Wandering Streams (2010)

Director:Pascal Rabaté  Producer:Xavier Delmas, Jean-Louis Livi Story by:Pascal Rabaté (original comic) 

Screenplay by:Pascal Rabaté  Music by:Alain Pewzner  Cinematography:Benoît Chamaillard  Edited by:Jean-François Elie

Running time:94 min Country: France Language:French Genre:Drama   Subtitle:English  Starring:Daniel Prévost ... Émile,
 Bulle Ogier ... Lucie
, Hélène Vincent ... Lyse, Philippe Nahon ... Edmond,
Julie-Marie Parmentier ... Lena, Bruno Lochet ... Gérard



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     Emile, a 70-something widower, is enjoying a quiet retirement with regular habits and peaceful hobbies. Time and his life both pass slowly, like the current of the Loire where he fishes regularly with another retiree, Edmond. But one day, after telling him he has had a secret affair, Edmond dies and Emile decides to pull himself together and keep himself from sinking into boredom by finding his zest for life again. He rediscovers forgotten desires of adolescence, of embraces, love but also of wanting to end it all...

Youre never too old to have a good time - thats the moral of this diverting little comedy which first-time director Pascal Rabaté adapted from his popular comic book. At a time when cinema has never been so youth-orientated and when everyone seems to be obsessed with looking young, Les Petits ruisseaux feels like a breath of fresh air, reassuring us that being old and having fun are not mutually exclusive.

Much of the films charm lies in the way it downplays its somewhat subversive concept (namely that an a septuagenarian can enjoy a healthy love life) by adopting a style that is more in keeping with the conventional view of old age (i.e. such as we would find in a typical Jean Becker film). You can easily imagine a version of this film which had a much more punchy presentation, in which the principal characters behaved like drug-crazed geriatric teddy boys. Wisely, Rabaté did not go down this more truculent path and instead delivers a gentler film in which the characters are not ridiculous caricatures but recognisable senior inhabitants of our own world, albeit ones who prefer a night of passion to one that revolves around a mug of Horlicks and a Jilly Cooper novel.

Daniel Prévost is superb as the main protagonist, the solitary old widower who rejuvenates before our eyes as he rediscovers his taste for life and his love for the pleasures of the flesh. It is a wonderfully humane and nuanced performance which takes what appears, on the face of it, to be an outré premise and makes it real and rather endearing. Just why shouldnt a 70-year-old live like a reckless adolescent? Just why shouldnt he extract as much happiness from his last few precious drops of life? What are we here for if not to enjoy ourselves?

Les Petits ruisseaux is likely to be controversial, since it boldly challenges us to confront our prejudices about old age and accept that the young do not own the exclusive rights to hedonism. Yet its characters are portrayed so sympathetically that anyone who watches it cannot fail to be bowled over by its charm and humanity. After all, life doesnt end when you stop working. Au contraire...

James Travers, Films de France


Wandering Streams (2010)