×

Stand-By

A strange and affecting tale of self-actualization in an unlikely environment, "Stand-By" features a terrific lead perf from Dominique Blanc as a woman who refuses to leave an airport when her husband ditches her just before their flight out. Protracted but intense character study, shot and edited with confidence, marks a promising bigscreen debut for scripter-helmer Roch Stephanik. After five years of marriage, Gerard (Patrick Catalifo) and Helene (Blanc) are at Orly South terminal, about to check in for the flight that will take them to a new life in Buenos Aires. Deciding at the last minute he needs to be alone to think straight, Gerard makes a clean break, informing his astonished wife it's over between them.

With:
Helene - Dominique Blanc Marco - Roschdy Zem Gerard - Patrick Catalifo Swiss Client - Jean-Luc Bideau Parking Lot Man - Georges Corraface Isabelle - Cecile Brune The Doctor - Gamil Ratib

A strange and affecting tale of self-actualization in an unlikely environment, “Stand-By” features a terrific lead perf from Dominique Blanc as a woman who refuses to leave an airport when her husband ditches her just before their flight out. Protracted but intense character study, shot and edited with confidence, marks a promising bigscreen debut for scripter-helmer Roch Stephanik.

After five years of marriage, Gerard (Patrick Catalifo) and Helene (Blanc) are at Orly South terminal, about to check in for the flight that will take them to a new life in Buenos Aires. Deciding at the last minute he needs to be alone to think straight, Gerard makes a clean break, informing his astonished wife it’s over between them.

Gerard takes the plane; mousy, adoring Helene takes a nearly fatal blow to her self-esteem. Gerard assumes Helene will return to town, stay with her sister, get a job and land on her feet. However, first out of grief and confusion, and eventually out of a burgeoning sense of resolve, Helene opts for life at the airport.

She has two suitcases full of clothes and toiletries, and the airport has showers and restaurants. When her cash runs out, Helene parlays an odd proposition from an elderly physician (Gamil Ratib) into a new profession: She becomes a prostitute.

At first tentative, then increasingly assured, Helene makes friends with airport staffers, including a stewardess on the Paris-Buenos Aires route who aids Helene’s charade by posting letters from Argentina to her family in France. Most supportive is Marco (Roschdy Zem), the counter man at the cafe who witnessed Helene’s disarray when her husband left her.

The considerably more comic “Tombes du ciel” (1993), by Philippe Lioret, was a bittersweet gem set entirely at Paris’ giant Roissy airport, where a passport-less Jean Rochefort mingled with a poignant community in the same administrative no-man’s-land.

In “Stand-By,” Helene is free to leave any time, but she chooses to stay. Opting for an insolent approach to an initially tragic event, pic builds to a potent moment of truth about the connection between sex, money and power.

Aggressively stylish widescreen lensing, desaturated autumnal colors and impressive perfs from those in transit, as well as from those rooted in the decor, all serve pic’s mild suspense about how Helene will cope with her new, offbeat life. Perfectly inhabiting her character, Blanc makes Helen’s dilemma palpable and poignant, rendering her transformation all the more interesting.

Jean-Luc Bideau entertains as one of her early clients who becomes a repeat customer.

Intelligent use of silence and near-silence vs. the intrusion of sound effectively translates Helene’s emotional status, and the movie’s intimate, cosseted tone reps a striking contrast to airport bustle.

Stand-By

France

Production: A Diaphana release of a Salome presentation of a Salome, Le Studio Canal Plus, Arte France Cinema, Havas Images, Ista Films, Diaphana Distribution production, with participation of Canal Plus and Studio Images 5. Produced by Maurice Bernart. Directed, written by Roch Stephanik.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Tetsuo Nagata; editors, Dan Facundo, Stephanik; art director, Dominique Douret; costume designers, Anouschka Debain-Dussaucy, Eve-Marie Arnault; sound (Dolby), Jean-Marcel Milan, Vincent Arnardi; assistant director, Jean-Luc Roze; casting, Brigitte Moidon. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles, Paris, Aug. 2, 2000. Running time: 122 MIN.

With: Helene - Dominique Blanc Marco - Roschdy Zem Gerard - Patrick Catalifo Swiss Client - Jean-Luc Bideau Parking Lot Man - Georges Corraface Isabelle - Cecile Brune The Doctor - Gamil RatibWith: Remi Martin, Catherine Sola, Laura Mana, Asil Rais, Franck Gourlat, Olivier Claverie.

More Film

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]

  • Sword of Trust

    Marc Maron on 'Sword of Trust,' Lynn Shelton and Conspiracy Theories

    Marc Maron has interviewed everyone from Bruce Springsteen to President Obama, so he’s probably learned a few things about being a good interview. Of course, as he points out, he generally has over an hour to talk leisurely speak with his guests in his home and draw out stories beyond the public narrative; it’s a [...]

  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The

    Andrew Lincoln's ‘Walking Dead’ Movies to Be Released Only in Theaters

    The first planned movie centered on “The Walking Dead” character Rick Grimes will now run in theaters rather than on AMC. The announcement was made with a brief teaser video played at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, with the video ending with the words “Only in Theaters.” The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures. [...]

  • Jennifer Beals The Last Tycoon

    Jennifer Beals Seeking SAG-AFTRA Board Seat as Matthew Modine Ally (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jennifer Beals is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Beals is best known for starring as Bette Porter on the Showtime series “The L Word” and for her lead role as Alex Owens in the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” She’s starred in the [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse Opens New Downtown Los

    Alamo Drafthouse Storms into L.A. with New Location

    “Cinema is alive and well tonight!” Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League declared at the theatrical venue’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night, where a gathering of 160 employees cheered and sliced into a strip of 35mm film in keeping with the company’s tradition. Despite dire predictions heralding the end of the theater-going experience, League was upbeat [...]

  • The Lion King Teaser

    'The Lion King' Leaping to $185 Million North American Debut

    Disney’s “The Lion King” is heading for a dominant $185 million opening weekend in North America, early estimates showed Friday. Should that number hold, “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and give the sagging domestic box office a badly needed boost. “The Lion King” would replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched [...]

  • Joe Anthony Russo

    Russo Brothers Announce 'Grimjack,' Live-Action 'Battle of the Planets' Adaptations

    Joe and Anthony Russo are looking to their youth to populate the development slate at their production company AGBO. A relatively obscure comic book called “Grimjack” will count the Russos as producers for an adaptation, they announced at San Diego Comic-Con. They’re also cooking up a live-action adaptation of the animated show “Battle of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content