Following his groundbreaking Stranger by the Lake (2013), Alain Guiraudie confirms his status as one of the most fearless, innovative French directors of his generation with Staying Vertical, the story of Leo, a filmmaker trying and failing to find inspiration by roaming a France that is equal parts dreamscape and harsh reality, a seamless patchwork of the limestone plateaus of the Massif Central, a port town in Brittany, and the western marshlands. While hiking on a desolate plateau, hoping to catch sight of a wolf, Leo meets a young shepherdess; the ensuing relationship takes us through the stages of the entire lifecycle, from the birth of a child to the death of an elder. Yet in Guiraudie’s hands no relationship is clearly defined, or definitive, and the film constantly—and often humorously—readjusts the viewer’s perception of the connections between people, but also between people and animals, resonating in subtle but profound ways with crucial questions of our era: LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, the struggle for financial security. Fluidity of gender and desire, but also of responsibility and even geography ensures that every moment of Staying Vertical is imbued with a boundless sense of possibility. This exhilarating potential is at the core of even its most chilling scenes; it is the hope against the wolves at Europe’s gates.
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD
$250 – $400 depending on size of
screening and format