The Wanderings Of Ivan **
Starring: Aram Arakelyan, Benjamin Baclet, Franck Zerbib
Director: Claude Chamis
Ivan (Arakelyan) is a young homeless man wandering the streets of Paris. Finding money, shelter and food where he can, he finds himself living in the woods of Vincennes, where he can at least be alone with his thoughts. But the woods are also a cruising ground, where a rentboy (Baclet) sees Ivan’s arrival an incursion on his territory and a cruiser (Zerbib) becomes completely enamoured of his good looks.
A thoughtful film, which spends most of its time watching Ivan passing time amongst the foliage, there was an interesting film to be told here. It covers much of the same territory of last year’s Sauvage, except without any of its context or a scrap of its pace. Instead, this is a film that drags its feet and relies entirely on its audience’s attraction to Arakelyan to keep them watc hing. And he is remarkably handsome. But that only goes so far.
We see a tiny segment of Ivan’s life, but it’s frustrating to know nothing more about this character, whose blank face gives us little to watch. We never find out how he got there or why he’s homeless, but he does look remarkably well-groomed and physically fit for someone living on the streets. Narration comes from Baclet, who is the enigmatic and sage sex worker, but this is densely philosophic, as are the multiple pages of archaic text we’re presented to read, that have precisely nothing to do with the plot whatsoever.
Unfortunately, this movie is entirely style over substance, suffering severely from Inactivity Syndrome. It tries desperately to be profound, but is actually completely superficial, playing entirely on its lead’s looks, rendering it both too high brow and too low brow in one fell swoop. Which is actually quite the feat, if you think about it!