Gay fest stalwart Sebastien Lifshitz (“Wild Side”) spins another variation on his usual themes and visual predilections in “Going South.” Melancholy, minimalist story centers on Sam (Yannick Renier), a 27-year-old loner driving a beat-up Ford from France to Spain while unaccountably ferrying three aimless teens. Sam’s recollections of his traumatic childhood frequently disrupt the linear narrative. The cast of young, often shirtless and occasionally nude male hard bodies will please the helmer’s regular audience; a hot perf from rising French starlet Lea Seydoux (resembling a cross between Anna Karina and Brigitte Bardot) reps a chance for wider appeal.

Attracted to silent Sam of the washboard abs, siblings Lea (Seydoux), pregnant, and Mathieu (Theo Frilet), gay, both try to seduce him. When she can’t get satisfaction, Lea persuades macho Jeremie (Pierre Perrier) to join them in the car. Mathieu and Sam ultimately enjoy an erotic frolic on a Spanish beach before Sam ditches his traveling companions. Helmer plays with the iconography of the American Western in a theoretical way; whenever the characters get out of the car, lenser Claire Mathon shows a lyrical way with landscapes. Other tech credits are fine.

Going South


  • Production: An Ad Vitam production with the support of Canal Plus, CineCinema, Region Aquitaine, Region Haute Normandie, Soficinema 4, Ad Vitam Distribution, in cooperation with CNC Ecriture, Avance Sur Recette Apres Realisation Media Developpement. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Alexander Henochsberg, Judith Nora, Gregory Gajos, Arthur Hallereau. Directed by Sebastien Lifshitz. Screenplay, Stephane Bouquet, Vincent Poymiro, Lifshitz.
  • Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Claire Mathon; editor, Stephanie Mahet; music, John Parish, Marie Modiano, Jocelyn Pook; sound (Dolby DTS SR). French, Spanish dialogue. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 14, 2010. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: With: Yannick Renier, Lea Seydoux, Nicole Garcia, Theo Frilet, Pierre Perrier.