We have all at one time or another wanted to pick up and leave our lives behind. Precious few of us, however, have ever actually gone through with it. This film is about just that. Packing a small bag, grabbing your cell phone, getting in your car, and just driving off. With no real plan or destination.
Most people want to live in Paris. Many dream of it. Not Pierre Thomas (Pascal Cervo – Lady Jane, Army of Crime). His life bores him. Despite the fact that he has a good job and a partner. He wants to escape it all. In a moment of desperation he grabs his car keys and cell phone to jump in his car. Pierre just begins to drive. His only guide is Grindr, a gay male hook up application. The expectation is that he is going to have a lot of anonymous sex. Looking for it on Grindr and in road side bathrooms. His boyfriend Paul (Arthur Igual – La Jalousie, Cherchez Hortense) is hot on his tail hoping to catch up with his lover. What follows is plenty of encounters with a variety of odd characters.
If you are expecting a film that is based upon a lot of soft porn then you will be disappointed. There is precious little sex going on here. It is more about exploration. Of the human psyche and body. A lot of talking goes on or scenes based upon (silent) dynamic between two men. Rather than focus on sex director Jerome Reybaud (first feature film) seems more interested in spending time on the connection between people. Whether it be complete strangers, male-female or male-male. The ensuing conversations are the focal points.
It is more about existential angst than anything else. Loneliness. In Paris, despite being surrounded by millions, Pierre feels alone. He has nice clothes, an apartment and drives an Alfa Romeo yet feels unfulfilled. A feeling that is amplified by the encounters with strangers and the desolate rural areas he drives through.
Besides our main protagonist and the assorted odd people he meets during his four day voyage through the French countryside another main character is the rural part of the country. It is beautiful in a kind of deserted way. Silently we know that people have left this part of the country for the lure of the big cities.
Despite the fact that it is billed as a gay male film there is a lot of female content. How men, in this case gay men, interact with women. The role each play in the other’s lives. Women end up being those who tell the gay male story in this instance as they have been set up as the narrator. An interesting commentary.
Instead of all this adding up to a fulfilling watch Jours de France just left me feeling as empty as the French countryside. Instead of all the pieces combining to make a cogent whole it just feels like a bunch of almost random scenes.