Paul W.R’s Last Journey: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022
The Alliance Française French Film Festival runs from 1 March to 24 April around Australia, with a jam-packed program – screening 42 films that present a window into French life, including the best from Berlin, Venice, and Cannes film festivals. There are also Australian premieres and world premieres. Take time to check out the program.
I’ll be reviewing films as I watch them – here is today’s offering:
Paul WR’s Last Journey
‘Paul WR’s Last Journey’ is an intriguing film, certainly not the usual French film you’d expect to see at a festival – no love, no comedic family fights, no social justice issues, and no windows to living a life in Paris.
First-time feature director Romain Quirot has created a science fiction film, but you don’t need to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy it; most of this film is more of a man-on-the-run scenario.
A toppled Eiffel Tower lying in the sand is one of the first clues the film is set in the future (much like the mostly buried in the sand Statue of Liberty in the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ film).
Paul WR (Hugo Becker) is touted as humanity’s last hope – the last skilled astronaut able to stop a large red moon from crashing into the Earth.
But the day before launch, Paul disappears into the desert, on the run in a very cute flying Peugeot. He is having an existential crisis. (Well maybe, yes it is a French film after all!)
It’s as far away from any American film version of ‘let’s nuke this thing in space’ as you can get.
Paul believes destroying the red moon will not save the earth. As a child, he felt a connection to the red moon and did a lot of research, so he feels he understands this moon. He has visions from the past and his child-self constantly gives him advice, most notably to go and find a forest he drew when he was younger. The answers are there, the voice says.
Paul’s brother tried destroying the red moon, but ‘something strange’ happened in space and now he’s joined the hunt to find his brother, but with another agenda in mind.
Paul reluctantly teams up with a young girl who ends up helping him on the road, passing through checkpoints, dying his hair, and fighting bad guys.
We also get to see the wonderful Jean Reno as Paul WR’s father who is in charge of the moon mission.
Unusually good production values
The production values are great – particularly the beautiful visuals of the red moon, flying cars, desert scapes, and the steampunk elements in the film.
‘Paul WR’s Last Journey’ doesn’t entirely make sense. However, the bits of the child’s voice in his head, for example, that didn’t make sense to me, may to you.
Paul is trying to put the pieces of the mystery of the red moon together through his childhood memories, which will strike different chords for different people.
It’s not for everyone, but it is poetic and pleasantly easy to get lost in this film, and it doesn’t have to make 100% sense to be enjoyed!
Have you seen this intriguing French film yet? Do you know of these actors, screenwriter, or director? Share your views below.
All images copyright The Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022
Don’t miss Cynthia’s review of
– Farewell Mr. Hoffmann –
– Goliath –
– Paul WR’s Last Journey –
– Velvet Queen –
– Men On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown –
– OSS 117 From Africa With Love –
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