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Strayed [DVD] [2003]
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 August 2006
For the most part, this film plays out with just four characters - when fleeing Paris, young widow Odile and her two children hook up with the resourceful Yvan, a youth of uncertain background.

Deep in a forest, they find refuge in a large and isolated country house - a kind of fairytale sanctuary largely hidden from the horrors going on all around.

Grainy black and white war scenes occasionally break up the lush shots of the forest and house, signalling to the viewer that reality will soon disturb the fragile idyll the refugees have found.

This is an intriguing and thoughtful tale of a disturbed youth and a broken family's efforts to find comfort and a semblance of normality in each other's company. In stark contrast to the traditional focus of war films on action and fighting, this one concentrates on a mother's struggle to protect her family, and is all the more powerful for it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Having already seen the young Gaspard Ulliel perform so convincingly in "A Very Long Engagement", "The Last Day", "Summer Things", and recently (at the cinema) in "Paris, Je t'Aime", I bought this DVD to see how he performed opposite Emmanuelle Beart, the ever-youthful queen of French cinema. I was not disappointed, but neither was I blown-away by this moody WW2 drama.

Ulliel and Beart play their parts with characteristic style and concision, but alas the director could have made much more of the threatening aspect of their forest setting. There were numerous lost opportunities to heighten tension, and deepen character. For example, more could have been made of Ulliel's nocturnal wanderings, or even of the wanderings of others traipsing the roads of rural France, fleeing from the enemy. Also, the use of black-and-white documentary material could have been augmented by flashbacks of Ulliel's own poor life in the reformatory. The ambiguity at the film's end over the fate of Ulliel felt somewhat contrived, and by this time I was a little disappointed that Beart's character had not opened out into something more substantial.

But let me not detract from what is a good story, competently-told. It is an enjoyable film, that never loses fascination, and can be wholeheartedly recommended for an evening's viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 15 March 2012
André Téchiné can always be relied on to make films that leave a mark, often set in a world of barely contained tensions and unresolved conflicts. And so it is here, in his only statement on the Second World War (as far as I know), which he treats at a certain distance by telling a tale that in a sense is more about stages of maturity and how and when knowledge can be acquired. It is set in the exodus of 1940 when many French people (and other nationalities, I think) went down through France to try and escape the invading German forces. The war is felt mainly in the way it deprives people of their loved ones - in this case the father - and their normal environments and daily lives. Here a widowed mother seeks refuge in a large country house with her two children at the prompting of a feral youth, initially against her will. What follows is quite slow by Téchiné's standards and slightly gloomy, perhaps, but it does get under the skin and sends shafts of poetic light into the shuttered rooms and the inner lives of these four main characters. The sense of the surrounding countryside is also memorable for the light conditions and rustle of the leaves.

It operates as a low-key thriller in the sense that we know Ivan is not quite what he seems, and the mother is torn between practical need, the desire to protect her children, and a fascination with the 17-year-old. Gaspard Ulliel makes a suitably saturnine youth who has spent time in care, while the young Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet has an openness and vulnerability that make him very touching in some of his reactions, both to his mother and the stranger. The little girl, who is probably eight or nine, also gets a certain amount of screen time that evokes her world of fairy stories vividly. And Emmanuelle Béart is ideal as the thirty-something widow, having just the right fragility and understanding as well. The film is very different from most war films, apart from one brilliantly orchestrated air attack at the beginning which is, for a few moments, reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan. But after this it becomes a poignant character study that really holds you in its elegiac grip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Strayed," ("Les egares"), (2003), is a French war drama/romance, about 90 minutes long, filmed in full-color in the mountainous Castres, Tarn, in the beautiful countryside of that nation. It is set during the climactic days of World War II, directed by Andre Techine,(Wild Reeds [DVD] [1995] [US Import],Scene of the Crime [DVD] [1986] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]). It is based upon the novel LES EGARES by Gilles Perrault.

In June, 1940, Paris is falling in slow-motion to German soldiers as they advance on the city. Odile, played by Emmanuelle Beart, (Manon Des Sources [DVD], Nathalie [DVD], 8 Women [DVD]), is a widowed schoolteacher whose husband was killed early in the war. She is drawn into the panic surrounding her, so she packs up her car with everything it will carry, and with her two children, joins the exodus from the city. Philippe is on the cusp of adolescence. Little Cathy knows only that they are going south. After the family has spent many slow-moving hours on the overtaxed roads, a German plane attacks the refugees. There is great loss of life. The terrified Odile's car burns; she and her children lose everything. Then a shaven-headed 17-year old local youth, named Yvan, who seems to have escaped from a local institution of some sort during the panic, appears from nowhere. As played by the young Gaspard Ulliel,(Brotherhood of The Wolf [DVD], A Very Long Engagement - 1 Disc Edition [DVD]), he leads the small family away from the carnage, to the safety of a lovely house standing empty during the war. Yvan seems to be well able to live off the land, and to provide for the little family he has found. Odile and Yvan are cut off from the rest of the world, living in confined quarters; they find their sexual desires awakening.

There's a scorching sex scene between Odile and Yvan -- it's probably the film's best known. The unusually interesting extras on the disk include interviews with director Techine, and the young actor Ulliel, in which Techine reveals how he hesitated about including the scene in the finished picture. Ulliel discusses the difficulty that ensued as two naked actors tried to film it. One thing's for sure, it required a lot of bravery on his part, and even more on Beart's, who is known for her bravery in that regard -- she filmed several unclothed scenes in MANON. And, luckily, she's still gorgeous while evidently in her thirties.

The disk's extra features also give us an interview with Perrault, author of the underlying book, which makes clear that the novel is based upon his own life experience - the story feels like felt experience. In June, 1940, his mother fled the city of Paris with his nine year old self and his younger sister; his family, as resident in the city's chic 16th arrondissement, would, however, have been better off financially than the family that the movie portrays.

Realistically speaking, war stories cannot turn out happily for everyone, and this one doesn't. Still, it is an extremely particular, resonant story, set in lovely surroundings, told in a tender and intimate manner that is likely to stay with you for a good long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Odile and her two children are on the run in the early stages of the Second World War, fleeing with many others from the about-to-be occupied Paris. They meet a young man (Yvan) who helps them but the relationship is uneasy, there is something strange about him and tensions build - but at the same time, something much more positive also. Beautifully filmed in the French countryside, this film is easy on the eye on the whole, though there are some stark and very disturbing wartime images intercut with the main body of the plot. However, the overall atmosphere is bleak as the film ends uncompromisingly. All are victims - Odile, her children, Yvan, the two soldiers on the run who come to the house in which they are hiding, even the gendarmes who figure at the end. The performances are excellent - Emanuelle Beart as Odile capably catching the dispassionate exterior of a woman who is on the verge of collapse. I had a problem with the way her relationship with her 13-year-old son is portrayed - his precocious insights and his sympathetic patience at some points seemed unlikely - but mostly this film works. It is not fun, however, and as it ends there is an impression of Mother-Courage endurance in the face of great uncertainty and hardship. A film to respect rather than to enjoy.
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Set in 1940 at the beginning of Germany's occupation of France, the recently widowed Odile (Emmanuelle Beart) is a young, beautiful mother fleeing Paris with her two children, 13-year-old Philippe (Leprince-Ringuet) and 7-year-old Cathy (Clemence Meyer). When German planes bomb the road filled with refugees, Odile's car is destroyed, and she flees into the woods with her children. They encounter Yvan (Gaspard Ulliel), a 17 year-old illiterate delinquent whose survival skills and charm soon prove indispensable. After spending a night in the open, the four fugitives stumble upon an abandoned house and Yvan breaks in. Empty of its inhabitants, the house becomes a desert island paradise and the setting for a makeshift family. Odile, at once suspicious of and attracted to the mysterious stranger, soon finds herself at the center of a fascinating set of personal and sexual dynamics.
WHAT CAN I SAY?
A powerfully suspenseful film about how war tears lives apart, nearly destroys them, and then, amazingly, forces them to survive together. Set in gorgeous French countryside, beautifully acted and magically tense
Andre Techine gives us a slice of love which cannot be fulfilled in the world of the refugee fleeing Paris in the second world war. This is a stunning vision of survival, trust and desire
A family on the run during WW2, and a mysterious teenager helped each other getting through tough times.Gaspard Ulliel gave an excellent honest performance as a reckless teen. Emmanuelle Beart as the mother of the kids is amazing, she is completely engrossing with every movement or word.her character is fascinating. She has lost her husband, her home, everything she has except her two kids. She is on the road with them, dead broke, dead tired and close to despairing.a woman clearly out of her depth who can barely keep herself together in the face of the problems confronting her. She's like a ticking time bomb, ready to completely fall apart at any moment. The only thing that holds her together is her rigid, school teacher training that allows her to continue to run her fugitive family this is Beart's finest roles delivering a very moving performance., matched in sensitivity only by Gaspard Ulliel's
War brings together unlikely people who then grow through the experience
this movie is not about a war,its about chaos of war, confusion of identities and human relationships being put into an intimate situation! it is A Different Kind of Love in A Different Time of War,
this film is very Passionate very Erotic so engrossing so Intense..this is not a set up for a happy Hollywood ending. But it is a profound story and a moving experience.
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This is the story of an unconventional romance, set during the onset of Nazi occupied France in 1940. World weary teacher, Odile (Beart) and her two children are fleeing Paris when they are attacked by German aircraft (a brief, though brutal introduction). A mysterious adolescent, Yvan (charismatically played by Ulliel), arrives and leads them to safety in an abandoned house deep inside the woods. As they settle in, a cautious trust develops from Oldie for Yvan, and she slowly (very slowly) develops feelings for him.

Whilst this is all very well, and paving the way for some fairly interesting possibilities, the idea isn't explored in enough detail. There isn't enough chemistry between the two leads (the fault of the screenwriters, rather than the actors), and Beart plays the role of Ulliel in such a sullen and cold manner that by the time she does (briefly) show signs of Yvan making in-roads to her emotions you don't care enough. I would have preferred to see her warming to him a little earlier, and her feelings for him explored in more detail than what is offered.

That said, this is a worthwhile film to watch (if, to my eyes, a somewhat missed opportunity). The setting is interesting and the acting good. It's something to watch when you're at a loose end and fancy some unchallenging escapism but nothing more. If you're looking for something with more depth on a similar theme (though set in modern France) try Noce Blanche.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 July 2006
The highlight of "Strayed" is the phenomenal acting peformance from Emmanuelle Beart in the lead role of Odile, a recently widowed mother of two, fleeing from the Nazis in 1940's France. Beart binds the film together superbly ; a film with a mostly youthful cast.After her family escape from a terrible German bombing raid at the start of the film, Odile and her children find shelter in an abandoned mansion with a mysterious teenage boy who they meet en route and with whom Odile develops romantic(well erotic) feelings. His survivalist skills help develop the hideaway into something of a pastoral idyll until what remains of the French authorities bring it to an end. "Strayed" is dominated by Beart from start to finish and this offbeat film is enjoyable throughout.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2011
The war started later for the French than for us but they were invaded pronto.The very good Emmanuelle Beart and her childern flee westwards. Their car is bombed. They run into the fields and are found by a lone teenager.Is he strange, or on the run, a thief ? They together find an abandoned house, they move in and fall into beautiful french life; until love(?), the French fleeing army and the Nazi police find them.

A French ending may not be normal to you, unless you know a fair few and this has a French finish. They do not end happily ever after.
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