A whirlwind of a movie in which an appealingly fearless Frenchman travels across Western and Eastern Europe to Russia, Japan, Egypt and Africa radiating effortless charisma, “Sansa” is exhausting in its joie de vivre. Relentless and big-hearted, this ode to forward momentum is lensed and edited with the frenzy of a rabbit on speed. Still, fests should jump at the chance to show the hearty chunk of truly international cinematic bravado.
Mono-monikered boy wonder Siegfried — who writes, directs, lenses and composes with assurance — burst on the scene in 1998 with (Un Certain Regard closer) “Louise (Take 2).” Current tribute to talking smooth and sleeping rough has an invaluable anchor in Roschdy Zem who, as the omnipresent title character, a catch-as-catch-can portrait artist, seems to be channeling the cocky insouciance of Godard-era Belmondo.
Siegfried’s style is steeped in a love of film — step-printed, undercranked, overcranked, desaturated, ultra-fluid Super 16 — and visual serendipity.
There’s no plot to speak of. Sansa, a vagabond artist , talks his way in and out of situations with timeless urban panache. As pic trots around the globe, tribute to the virtues of happenstance, good-natured womanizing and snubbing authority boasts only one other semi-steady character in the person of world-class violinist Ivry Gitlis. Latter plays a conductor and musician who crosses paths with Sansa in various exotic locales and the twilight years incarnation of the younger man’s instinct to never let a pretty girl pass by unnoticed.
With enough local color to blind a peacock, free-wheeling semi-improvised odyssey is never boring but tends to wear out viewer sense-receptors. Throbbing, pulsing, consistently inventive score by Sig nicely cohabits with pieces from the classical symphonic canon.
Dialogue is mostly in English and French with plentiful comments and exclamations in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Portuguese or whatever other language is spoken in a given location.