A philosophical French travelogue
Though the gay dating app Grindr serves as the impetus for this thoughtful French road movie, “4 Days in France” is about a variety of human connections that transcend physical encounters. In the drama’s first moments, Pierre (Pascal Cervo) quietly leaves his lover Paul (Arthur Igual) by the light of his phone. Guided by potential hookups’ proximity according to the app, Pierre drives out of Paris and sees a variety of people as he wanders across the country.
Pierre lets desire and chance dictate where he goes, and each person he encounters adds depth to his experience. Meanwhile, Paul tracks him, following behind and just missing his partner at each town he visits.
At almost 21⁄2 hours, “4 Days in France” is a meandering journey, driven less by plot and more by the episodic nature of Pierre’s travels. The film lingers on driving scenes for minutes at a time, allowing the CDs in Pierre’s car to provide the only soundtrack.
Writer-director Jérôme Reybaud has crafted an assured film for his narrative-feature debut. It has a strong vision, even as its protagonist simply wanders across France. Cinematographer Sabine Lancelin has previously worked with Éric Rohmer and Manoel de Oliveira, and she brings an experienced eye to both the expansive landscapes and the intimate encounters. This is a beautifully shot film whose visuals work well with its philosophical approach to life and relationships.
“4 Days in France.” In French with English subtitles. Not rated. Running time: 2 hours, 21 minutes. Playing: Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills.
PASCAL CERVO wanders the French countryside on a road trip outside Paris in Jérôme Reybaud’s film.