Le Chant du loup (The Wolf’s Call): Alliance Francaise Film Festival Review

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This week, France’s Academy of Film Arts and Sciences will reveal the winners of the 45th César Awards – France’s equivalent to the Oscars – and many of the this year’s Best Film front-runners will screen during the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival, which runs from March 18 to April 14 at the Palace James St and Palace Barracks in Brisbane.  

Le Chant du loup (The Wolf’s Call) will be screening as part of the festival and is a suspenseful thriller featuring oceanic cinematography as we’re taken into the world of submarines.   It centres around the Chanteraide’s world of sonography (Francois Civil) who is known among the crew for his supersonic hearing and interpretating of deep sea sound waves in identifying threats.

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We’re plunged into the bowels of the underworld where confined living spaces and deprivation of sunlight for long periods is life for the key crew members we meet.  It’s a little lengthy sitting at about 114 minutes and though it could have been further condensed, the film never lost its momentum in the emotional tension it aimed to create.

The film opts to deviate from the usual trappings of patriotism, instead revolving the story around Chanteraide who’s sharp hearing is the key to superior identification of underwater sounds that threaten the order and peace the network of submarines is charged to maintain.

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In this world of vessels beneath the blue seas is a fascinating exploration of armed defences that aren’t usually a focus for large scale studio films.   Almost immediately during the opening sequence we’re introduced to the role a nuclear submarine plays in battle.  It’s jargon heavy and ambiguous with its very realistic conveying of procedure and structural hieracy.  We’re confronted with notions of disobedience in authority versus the deterioration of personal morals and ethics.  But underlying it all is loyalty and commradery.

The circumstances in the script forcing two nuclear envoys to turn on one another due to strict protocols create the perfect storm of gripping drama.

SESSION TIMES:

Saturday 14 March
8.45pm (Palace Cinema Norton Street Sydney)
8.45pm (Palace Cinema Balwyn Melbourne)
8.45pm (Palace Cinema Paradiso Perth)

Saturday 21 March
8.45pm (Palace Cinema Barracks Brisbane)

Thursday 26 March
7pm (Palace Nova Eastend Adelaide)

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