by Géraldine Danon
French film, 2:05 a.m.
If for Arthur Rimbaud we are not serious when we are 17 years old, what did Florence Arthaud, the daughter of the publisher Jacques Arthaud, say about it? Flo opens up about this period of her existence. She enjoys life to the fullest, impatient to fly away. But one evening when she goes out of her way to party with her brother Jean-Marie, a road accident abruptly disrupts her trajectory. Her eldest escaped almost unscathed, but for her it was different: coma, multiple fractures, paralysis. She has months or even years of rehabilitation ahead of her.
Enough to destroy your appetite for life? On the contrary. Still banned from practicing any sport, she decided to take up sailing again, which she started as a child with her brother. She went to Newport in the United States where the English Transat arrived to see “the boats, the sailors and the sea”. A love story begins with Jean-Claude Parisis, who offers to cross the Atlantic on his sailboat Petrouchka. “The stars, the immense sky, the curve of the horizon, the endless world, the murmur of the ocean, the company of dolphins, the breath of whales. Everything is new to me, everything has changed,” she wrote. On her return, she announces that her life is now the sea, to her dismayed parents: her path was all set – medical studies and a bourgeois existence like theirs. The family breakup complete, Jean-Claude Parisis explains to her that he will never embark on a race with her: navigation only concerns men.
A personal adaptation of the book by Yann Queffélec
The filmmaker Géraldine Danon, friend of Florence Arthaud from 1986 to her death in 2015 during the filming of a game show, adapts the book The Sea and Beyond by Yann Queffélec, co-writer, while delivering her own vision. A gifted and extremely determined sailor who came up against sexism in the sailing world where she nevertheless shone, the first and only woman to have won the Route du Rhum. A bulimic of life, blue and sensual flower, passionate about freedom and freed from her original wealthy environment, who got lost in excesses and excesses.
If this biopic, criticized by the sailor’s family, is not always clear in the chronology of its story and its ellipses, it magnifies the scenes at sea. Never on a boat before this role, actress Stéphane Caillard, after an intensive training course at Glénan, manages to make himself credible from the helm to the top of the mast. A loving camera follows her every gesture, her emotions and her looks. With constant intensity and crazy energy, the actress radiates, at the risk of eclipsing the one she embodies, even Florence Arthaud.