THE STOPOVER (Voir du pays) with Soko as Marine

Directors:     Delphine & Muriel Coulin
Producer:     Denis Freyd
Screenplay:     Delphine & Muriel Coulin
Co-starring:     Ariane Labed, Ginger Romàn
Release Date:     7 September 2016 (France)
Length:     102 minutes
Genre:     drama
Aspect ratio:    2.35:1


On Wednesday, 7 September 2011, units of the Afghan National Army were engaged in an area control operation in the Mobayan village area in Kapisa, with French units in support. In the morning, French units were violently attacked several times as they supported the disengagement of Afghan units. During the fighting, a French soldier was killed and several others wounded: one is severely injured, two others are seriously injured and others are slightly affected and have been treated on FOB Tagab.
---- French Ministry of Defense

After an incident much like the actual one described above (the village of Mobayan is named in the film), Marine and Aurore, who have been friends since they were very young, arrive in the Greek half of Cyprus with the rest of their French Army unit for three days of decompression. They have been in Afganistan for six months.

Since 2008, all French soldiers returning from a foreign war go through a "decompression" under the care of army psychologists, to help them remove the images of war from their minds. The program includes sports, yoga, boat trips (when possible), and meetings in which each soldier must tell the story of his or her six months in combat. In the film, virtual reality is used to aid the soldiers in telling their stories. There is no indication that the French army actually makes use of VR in their decompression sessions.

The difficulties of readjusting to normal existence after combat are effectively illustrated by Aurore & Marine's spontaneous trip into the countryside. The soldiers respond to everything in a combative way. There are subtle differences in the ways each of them expresses their acquired pugnacity, but they all have a need for an enemy. One is left with the idea that reintegration into civilian life, even after three days of "decompression", will be very difficult for all of these characters.

Three animals, a dog, a goat, and a pet snake appear in the film. Ness (Jérémie Laheurte) is a dog handler, and Aurore describes in some detail how he reacted to his animal being blown up. (We see none of the blood and gore in Voir du pays, only the psychological consequences of it.) Ness stares wistfully at two things. The first is the hotel pianist (Zoe Kokkala), and the second is a dog belonging to one of the tourists at the hotel as it runs through the lobby. Marine brings her snake with her concealed in a sock. While driving through the Cyprus mountains, the soldiers hit and kill a goat. The death of the goat causes Marine to release her pet snake into the wild, symtollically putting Afganistan behind her. Aurore tells Marine on the plane ride back to France that the army is not for her. That she will find something else to do.

"We have sought to be neither black nor white, and to come closer to the human experience: what does it mean to go to war when one has a woman's body? How does a trauma materialize? Why in 90% of the cases, there remains an image? Because it is proved by the psys that in most cases, the trauma crystallizes on a sense. Which can be an odor, a sound, but in the majority of cases, it is an image that remains printed in the brains of the combatants, and which prevents them from living."
---- Muriel Coulin (to Caroline Besse of Télérama (8/9/2016)

There are two things left curiously unresolved in Voir du pays. The first is Ness's longing glance at the hotel pianist. (We never see or hear anything of her again.) The other is the rifle in the trunk of the Cypriot's car. We are shown the rifle, and sort of expect someone to do something with it at some point, but that never happens.


Jérémie Laheurte Soko and Ariane Label Ariane LabelGinger Romàn, and Soko Soko and the Snake Soko - The Stopover Zoi Kokkala Orange dance - The Stopover Cyprus gas station



THE STOPOVER is available for download on iTunes, and on DVD from Amazon.

CAST

Soko - Marine
Ariane Labed - Aurore
Ginger Romàn - Fanny
Karim Leklou - Max
Andreas Konstantinou - Chrystos
Makis Papadimitriou - Harry
Alexis Manenti - Jonathan
Robin Barde - Toni
Sylvain Loreau - Momo
Jérémie Laheurte - Ness
Damien Bonnard - Lieutenant
Jean-Yves Jouannais - Lieutenant-Colonel
Pierre Devérines - psycologist
Kostis Maravegias - singer at party
Manolis Chirakis - Zeibekiko dancer
Triantafullos Papastamatis - pump attendant
Tarek Razab - barman
Lammarr Bennett Grant
          - L'animateur boîte de nuit
Zoi Kokkala - hotel pianist
Tourists: Corine Mesnil, Alain Gitte
Soldiers: Kevin Delta, Yves Francillette, Aurélien Roger, Christophe Saulnier


Voir du pays began as a book by Delphine Coulin. The book is now available (in French) in a Kindle edition and as a mass market paperback from Amazon.


SOUNDTRACK

  1. Welcome to Greece - Maraveyas ilegál
  2. Ask Me Na Bo - Maraveyas ilegál
  3. Lola - Maraveyas ilegál
  4. Smyrneiko Minore - Marika Papagika
  5. Akou Me - Zol Kouroukli and the Stormies
  6. Rabbits in a Hurry - Superpitcher
  7. Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major) - Zoe Kokkala
  8. The Keeper - Bonobo featuring Andrea Triana
  9. Heart Beating - Ann Alexander Thweatt, Sébastien Devaud & Amélie Bouard
  10. Surf - Curtis Harding
  11. Noirse - Petite Noir
  12. Slow Coming - Benjamin Booker
  13. Adieu vieille Europe - Simon De Lyon
  14. To Nick - Nadim Mishlawi
  15. Fire With Fire - Gossip

Voir du pays post er The Stopover poster