Sunday, November 28, 2010

E is for Equipier

Another French film and hâllo again to Sandra Bonnaire. I'm not obsessed with Sandra Bonnaire but I think someone at my local library might be. In fact, I'd seen this DVD with Sandra Bonnaire on a bicycle with a warm smile many times before. I would consider watching the movie but in the end, I had always passed it up because of the lighthouse pictured in the background. It seemed to me that it meant the movie would be desolate.

The last movie I'd seen starring Bonnaire was Chabrol's La ceremonie and I remembered only cold cunning smiles. I decided to see what was behind this warm smile.

L'équipier I thought meant team. L'équipe (f) means team, l'équipier means team member or friend or a shipmate. In English the movie title is just simply translated as "The Light" while in German it's "Die Frau des Leuchtturmwärters" (The Wife of the Lighthouse Keeper).

Yes, Sandrine Bonnaire does play the wife of the lighthouse keeper. The story is also set on the very small island of Ouessant in the Celtic Sea close to the English Channel. The lighthouse though is offshore- which I did not expect.

The story does deal with a lighthouse keeper, his wife, the isolation of working in an offshore lighthouse and of the small town. Why is the lighthouse keeper's wife smiling? It has to do with a young lighthouse keeper. It's 1963 and Mabé's (Sandrine Bonnaire) father, a lighthouse keeper, has just died. Antoine Cassendi (Grégori Derangère) is his eager and enthusiastic young replacement.

This movie is not desolate at all- it's full of emotions and people being happy, too despite their struggles and periods of isolation. All the titles apply to the story: it's about shedding light on the past, being the light in someone's life, being a friend and part of the team. It's not exactly a "feel-good" movie but it had me smiling warmly more than once.

L'équipier, 2004

Directed by Philippe Lioret

For a very thorough review of this movie in English

French trailer with English subtitles

La photo: Uniforms for the self-proclaimed team of "Oyster Mercenaries" at Hog Island Oyster Farm in Marshall, California. Juillet, 2010.