April 12, 2015 9:50am
Director: Thomas Cailley
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Kévin Azaïs, Antoine Laurent
Runtime: 98 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Cannes Film Festival: CICAE Award, FIPRESCI Prize, Label Europa Cinemas;
Cairo International Film Festival: Best Actress;
César Awards (France): Best First Film, Best Actress, Most Promising Actor.
“Les Combattants is an expertly handled and brilliantly performed feel-good comedy with an original twist.”—John Bleasdale, Cinevue
“Les Combattants is an immensely amiable, beautifully shot love story featuring one of the best-drawn and least compromised female leads the oft-maligned rom-com genre has offered lately.”—Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
Les Combattants brings together a young man and woman mutually concerned with their ultimate survival on besieged planet Earth. However, while they Google share the same worries, their temperaments are at edgy odds. Such is the premise for Les Combattants, a triple-award winner at the Cannes Film Festival.
Arnaud (Kevin Azais) is working with his brother trying to maintain a carpentry business. Then he meets Madeleine (Adele Haenel), an independent thinking young woman who is in perfect physical condition (partly due to her energy-driven sardine drink) and is self-assured to the extreme.
Arnaud escorts Madeleine to the next town to enlist in a two-week military boot camp, which offers survival training–quite useful for the apocalypse. Realizing that she is the most interesting and sexy woman he has ever met, Arnaud signs up as well. The rigors of boot camp test their relationship—he’s enamoured, she’s prickly and unyielding. But the ultimate challenge they must face is their own survival experiment in the woods.
Heavy on charm and affection for its characters, Les Combattants gives the rom-com premise a novel twist, with lovely scenery and underplayed chemistry to make it well worth tagging along.