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WESTERN

France, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Manuel Poirier

When travelling shoe salesman Paco picks up a hitch-hiker, Nino, he's not expecting to have his vehicle, samples and belongings stolen and be left stranded by the roadside. Paco gets his revenge a short while later, howev­er, when he comes across the thief in a small French town, beats and hospitalises him. The start of a beautiful friendship.

A leisurely, delicately observed pace is the hall­mark of the director Manuel Poirier and Western is no exception. When Paco and Nino eventually team up again, they cover barely 15 kilometres together in this off-beat road movie. The narrative essence of Western is the interaction between the mismatched pair and their serial romances while travelling. Poirier maximises the potential of his setting by having his camera dwell on the rugged, wind-swept Brittany coastline and environs, pin­pointing a sense of place and juggling intimate exchanges and wide open spaces with ease

The film "...embodies an optimistic humanist vision in which life may be hard but problems have solutions and it never hurts you ask for what you really want." - Variety

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