Voir du Pays (The Stopover)London Film Festival 2016
Ariane Labed (Aurore) and Soko (Marine) star as two French military women attempting to recover after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, in the instantly gripping Voir du Pays (The Stopover). The film explores the topic of post-traumatic stress disorder and features some very emotive scenes.
The two women, childhood friends, arrive in Cyprus with the rest of their platoon for a mandatory three-day “decompression” – a brief period of rest designed to allow them to unwind and leave their bad memories behind them before returning home.Despite the comforts of the luxury five-star hotel they find themselves booked into, this is easier said than done. Probed by army psychologists and forced to relive some of the traumas they have experienced in conflict through virtual-reality equipment in front of their peers, the troops do not welcome this invasive form of group therapy, and tension is rife. In their free time, however, they are free to explore the exotic resort and even drink on the beach with tourists. However, as the virtual reality therapy sessions continue, an atmosphere of blame and aggression is created amongst the men and women, mingled with a venomous misogyny. Friendships are tested. The group teeters on the edge of violence. Then suddenly, pressure reaches a breaking point.
Written and directed by French sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin, Voir du Pays is powerful and formidable. Set in sunny Cyprus at an amazing beach hotel location, it is masterfully shot and put together. Its cast also delivers stunning performances on screen: it is entirely believable that Aurore and Soko have known each other their whole lives. Despite the lavish Mediterranean holiday scenery though, the dark and heavy mood of the troops feels very real. Shots of drunken, scantily clad holiday-makers with cocktails dancing to bass-heavy music are worlds away from the horrors of war that they have witnessed. Picturesque, yet disturbing and thought-provoking, Voir du Pays is a must-see.
Voir Du Pays (The Stopover) does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Voir du Pays (The Stopover) here: