He is best known Alain Chabat for his comedic talent. But in the drama-comedy #JeSuisLà, which was released Thursday in the Quebec theatre, the popular French actor delivers a performance that is as touching as fun by lending his traits to a conservator aged man in full existential crisis.
This new film of French director Eric Lartigau (The family Bélier), therefore, puts in scene the character of Stéphane (Alain Chabat), the owner of a restaurant in the basque Country who leads a quiet life, surrounded by his two sons, now adults.
Separated from the mother of his children, he’s dived for years in a routine that irked him. He finds his restaurant outdated and has superficial relationships with his two big boys, who do not trust ever to him.
But one day, on a whim, Stéphane decides to fly to Seoul to join a young artist-painter from south korea, whom he had met on the social networks. Except that in arriving on the spot, he realises that he has to put a rabbit up by this new flame. Wandering alone in the airport of Seoul, this man who has been travelling a bit in his life discovers a new world that awaits him.
At once reminiscent of the movie the Terminal (for the scenes taking place in the airport) and the comedy Lost in Translation (for the clash of cultures faced by the main character), #JeSuisLà wants to be a reflection on the loneliness at the time of the social networks. To write the screenplay of this sixth feature-length film, director Eric Lartigau has, indeed, inspired by real-life stories of Europeans who have traveled to Asia hoping to find people they met on the internet, but are eventually returned home empty-handed.
The success of this bitter-sweet comedy endearing is largely based on the responsive performance, directed by Alain Chabat, who is surprised by the sobriety and sincerity of her game. Eric Lartigau has also found the right tone to tell this story with a delightful mixture of tenderness, melancholy and humor. A pity, however, that the last portion of the film lets a little in, taking a turn more melodramatic.
- A comedy by Eric Lartigau
With Alain Chabat, Doona Bae and Blanche Gardin. To the poster.