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Antoinette, a school teacher, is looking forward to her long planned summer holidays with her secret lover Vladimir, the father of one of her pupils. When learning that Vladimir cannot come because his wife organized a surprise trekking holiday in the Cévennes National Park with their daughter and a donkey to carry their load, Antoinette decides to follow their track, by herself, with Patrick, a protective donkey.

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    97 minutes
  • Language
    French
  • Country
    France
  • Note
    On an impulse, Paris schoolteacher Antoinette decides to follow her married lover Vladimir and his wife and daughter on a six-day summer hike along the trail described by Robert Louis Stevenson in his outdoor classic Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. But Antoinette soon realizes this impromptu vacation is more than she bargained for: Vladimir is nowhere in sight, her romantic misadventure tickles all the gossips on the hiking circuit, and her traveling companion is a recalcitrant donkey called Patrick. Caroline Vignal’s second feature delightfully reinvigorates the old French film trope of the lovelorn vacationer with a gentle comic touch, the occasional slapstick flourish, unblemished landscapes, and a star-making turn by Laure Calamy, long a magnetic supporting actress in films by leading directors like Alain Guiraudie and Justine Triet. With perfect timing, a hint of eccentricity, and a beguiling emotional openness, Calamy manages to find both the pain and the humor in the universal experience of being alone when you had something—or someone—else in mind. Special mention must be made of Patrick the donkey, who delivers a winning performance as the stoic beast of burden who proves to be Antoinette’s occasional therapist and steadfast friend.
  • Director
    Caroline Vignal
  • Screenwriter
    Caroline Vignal
  • Cast
    Laure Calamy, Benjamin Lavernhe, Olivia Côte