Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Molière)

Poster for Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Molière)

Spring 2014 Features series

Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 8:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Philippe Le Guay

Screenplay by Fabrice Luchini, Philippe Le Guay, and Emmanuel Carrère

Starring Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, and Maya Sansa

Rated NR · 1h 44m
French and Italian

View trailer

Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Molière)

From French director Philippe Le Guay (The Women on the Sixth Floor), comes a warm, funny and literate comedy in which two French actors portray two French actors, friends at odds with one another in every possible way, except for their love of Molière’s Le Misanthrope. 

Lambert Wilson (Of Gods and Men) plays Gauthier Valence, a tall, handsome TV actor best-known for his leading role in a ridiculous soap opera as a beloved cosmetic surgeon who “saves lives.” Fabrice Luchini (The Women on the Sixth Floor, Potiche, and, in real life, a Molière expert) as SergeTanneur has met with much less success. He has become a middle-aged curmudgeon who has renounced the stage to live like a hermit in a run-down house on the picturesque Île de Ré, off France’s Atlantic coast.

When Gauthier arrives on Serge’s turf to try to convince him to return to Paris to play opposite him in a new production of The Misanthrope, Serge at first refuses, swearing he will never return to the stage. And yet, something inside him wants to be convinced. He decides that he will make up his mind about accepting the challenge only after a week of intense rehearsals.

The two friends spend their time rehearsing and arguing while taking bike trips around the rain-swept island, and on their rounds they get in touch with some of the colourful locals, including a fiery and beautiful Italian divorcee (Maya Sansa) who thinks all actors are narcissists, and a clueless porn starlet (Laurie Bordesoules) who drops by for some acting tips in what is arguably the film’s hilarious highlight.

Bicycling with Molière is a thoroughly enjoyable film which cleverly echoes the themes of Molière’s classic text, while offering wonderful insights into the work of an actor.

“A warm and winning chamber piece about two actors taking on The Misanthrope and trying not to strangle one another in the process . Yet the personal and artistic squabbles between Gauthier and Tanneur are intriguing enough to streamline the action, which Le Guay directs in a polished, straightforward manner that favors the performances over everything else. Despite its theatrical core, the film also manages to make fine use of its multiple island settings― terrifically photographed by Jean-Claude Larrieu (The Secret Life of Words)― bringing Molière’s classic text into the stormy or sun-drenched landscapes of the present.”  (Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter)