October 19, 2021

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The Last Voyage: a review of weightless French cinema

After months of crisis, cinemas have finally reopened! And they greeted us with promising French sci-fi tales. The Last Voyage takes us to the bloodless surface of planet Earth, which is about to be hit by a not-so-convincing red moon. Paul WR, the only astronaut capable of destroying it, has just disappeared, leaving humanity to despair.

FIRST EPIC
Hollywood’s private sanctuary, science fiction retains strong French roots that regularly feed lies to sad spirits, convinced that French productions are divided between heavy comedy and Germanopratin pensumers. This is what Le Last Voyage reminds us of Ambition, the first feature film by Romain Quirot and his co-writer Antoine Jaunin. The two men fought with rare creative energy to reach the dark room.

And unsurprisingly, the film, which had to surpass a more than modest budget while honoring its poetic aspirations, was delivered by a very young team, suffered from several recurring flaws in French production. Sometimes too written, sometimes not enough, the story struggles to characterize some of its characters, to make a problem real or to clearly establish the rules that define its universe.

Thus, the first half hour, if not short on assets, made people fear that the film could not recover from the foursome short film syndrome. As all the protagonists unfold, it is necessary to accept a pair of overly significant lines, with subtle accents sometimes a little muddy. The flaw that makes viewers curious about a bold proposal is too often encountered. But if this adventure falters for a while, it’s when it takes off that it reveals its true value.

JOURNEY TO THE MOON
Revealed to the public via a witty trailer, which shows that the project is candidly observing the legacy (rarely digested, often shaken like a toy) from the production of Amblin and its successor to Stranger Things, The Last Voyage enjoys a universe that is far denser and richer than influence. this striking.

Always oscillating between the legacy of Franco-Belgian comics and the experiments of Métal Hurlant, the artistic direction traces its own course, and gradually marks a coherent and unique universe. A feeling that grows stronger as the world depicted is enriched, here with memories shrouded in luxurious black and white, there with the rise of abandoned cinema, between a spaghetti western and a post-apocalyptic odyssey.

But this project goes beyond its original graphic claws. Because he’s always thinking about framing and editing, director Romain Quirot never escapes his artistic direction. Evidenced by the tense sequences, especially the very dry games where the performances are thrilling. The same goes for the directives of the actors, all excellent (Paul Hamy and Lya Oussadit-Lessert in the main cast), often able to transcend text that lacks finesse.

As the sequence progresses, as the narrative becomes more fluid and the ellipses diminish as the relationships between characters develop, we are immersed in an epic with vivid dreams, it is assumed, always evocative. Juggling as impossible as joking between the vivid lines of a Hergé, the allegorical emotion of The Little Prince, and the organic brutality of Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Last Voyage is unlike any other sci-fi creation, and offers us, with incredible generosity, the necessary exploration. of our imagination.