Staying Vertical

Filmmaker Leo is searching for the wolf in the south of France. During a scouting excursion he is seduced by Marie, a free-spirited and dynamic shepherdess. Nine months later she gives birth to their child. Suffering from post-natal depression and with no faith in Leo, who comes and goes without warning, Marie abandons both of them. Leo finds himself alone, with a baby to care for.

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  • ★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd

    "Jerking off in the desert is so like him."

  • ★★★½ review by Aaron Salazar on Letterboxd

    I saw something in this which I never thought I'd see on the big screen. A complete 180 from 'Stranger By The Lake'. A comedy(?)-meta-nightmare about sheep and a baby. Wild.

  • ★★★★½ review by Julian Towers on Letterboxd

    86/100

    1. Seeing as how the highest rating I gave last year was an 85, there's a good chance this will end up being my favorite film of 2017. Not going to make any claims for objectivity, tho. If I ever have a career in film, this is pretty much exactly the kind of film I would want to make (except this is obviously much much, much, much, much, better). I dunno. Something about this sort of gently swelling, After-Hoursian nightmare surrealism speaks so profoundly to me. Couldn't really tell you why. Hope it doesn't mean I'm paranoid or delusional or whatever (tho I have been told more than once that I look like young Kafka).

    2. I'll be back to write more about this once I've re-watched and can fully convey just what I find so stunning in greater detail.

    3. Until then: GAAAWD DID YOU SEE IT WHEN ALL THE HOMELESS MEN TAKE HIS CLOTHES AA-AND THE BABY CRYING IN THE DARK aaaaanddddd THE PROG ROCK OOOOH THE PROG ROCK and OH MY GOD WHEN HE OPENS THE DOOR AND THE BOYFRIEND is OOOOOOHHHH AHHHHHHHHH AND THE SHEEP Oh hugging the sheep.

    4. #thisisagoddream

  • ★★★★ review by preston on Letterboxd

    The most striking shot has to be the otherworldly image of the newborn being squeezed out from its mother's womb, as if to say that life, i.e. the mere fact of being alive, is strange and magical (or alternatively that Nature sure works hard to bring us into this life, considering how little joy we find once we get here) - and there is indeed an uncanny quality to this minor-key movie, its spare, witty contours seeming to contain a whole world. The landscape adds to the spell, the rolling fields and occasional pools of water - plus a glimpse of a town where the shapes of the trams echo the sinuous curves of mountain road - the fact that we keep ending up on the same five people also adds to the spell, yet the world is rich nonetheless: there are wolves (or the fear of wolves) to invoke Death or Evil, an innocent baby - used as wolf-bait, held as a kind of marker while its dad fulfils his obligations, finally lost altogether and replaced by a lamb - a woman who behaves like a man, an old man who's no longer 'a man', plus the Object of Desire who seems to end up with everyone else except our hero. By the end, with the title explained, the feeling of a self-contained (albeit small) world is overwhelming.

  • ★★★★ review by Aaron Locke on Letterboxd

    The last half hour of this movie, even the last five minutes, snap the whole film into focus in a really, really important way. Not sure how successful it is and there's some that I could have done without, but it's directed so well that it almost doesn't matter. This strikes me as a unique kind of queer film - one written and directed by a gay man that aims to tackle what it means to be gay using nontraditional narratives.

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