A Real Life

Original Title: Au Voleur


A criminal and a teacher hook up in town and hightail it to the forest in "A Real Life," a well-made but ho-hum tale featuring a couple of losers it’s just impossible to care about. Debut feature by Sarah Leonor (credited as Sarah Petit on her shorts) wants to be "They Live by Night" crossed with "Old Joy," but the narrative merely moves from ill-considered to aimless. Interest will depend on the curiosity factor of Guillaume Depardieu in his last film, though the projected late September French release is unlikely to make real dough.

Substitute teacher Isabelle (Florence Loiret Caille) meets bold thief Bruno (Depardieu) when she’s hit by a car and he steals her watch while pretending to help. The intense woman is smitten with the rebel, and when the cops track her down while investigating a hot auto, the couple escape to the forest, where they connect to something primal. That’s the idea, but Leonor’s attempt to romanticize this antiheroic duo falls flat. Visuals at least are solid, carefully calibrated with blue backgrounds for Bruno in the city, then switching to nature’s warmer green canopy.

Le Figaro

A deeply moving couple.


…certainly the best actress of her generation (for Florence Loiret Caille)

…this first feature, the last but one for Guillaume Depardieu, offers him a beautiful close call.


The style of the director really becomes obvious during the fascinating breakaway of the two lovers into the wild. A new space-time opens up. Landscapes and musics create an American France, and we feel like in Badlands, the sublime film from Terence Malick, without the violence, but more lucid. This beautiful bracket captivates without the need of any rebounding: just by its softness, its sweet savagery, the concern and the unexpected joy of the runaways.

Jeune Cinéma

And when the couple, tracked by the police, escapes in a boat and goes along a river, the film is turned and reaches the other side of the mirror. The violence makes way to a lyric promenade, and the boat going under the branches on the music of I'm a Poor Wayfaring Stranger, in its original a capella version, is a magnificent suspended moment. This long drift, 40 minutes aquatic where almost nothing arises, is touched by the grace: Guillaume Depardieu, grand as an animal sough after, and Florence Loiret-Caille, all in umpredictable bounds (the long travelling that accompanies her walk on the river is splendid), find back the innocence of the mythic hounded couples, such as They Live By Night or Thieves Like Us.

Les Inrockuptibles

It starts in a suburb and it ends at the Grimm's Brothers: served by two exceptionnal actors, a first feature both naturalist and poetic.


An extraordinary initiatic and poetic journey, that reminds of The Night of the Hunter, of Charles Laughton, and Josef Von Sternberg.

La Quinzaine Littéraire

Florence Loiret-Caille, the actress of the year (...) The film peaks in his ending a lyricism that has hardly ever been reached in a French movie.



E se fosse lui, Guillaume Depardieu, a vincere il Pardo come miglior attore? Lo meriterebbe sicuramente per la sua straordinaria interpretazione in Au voler (Al ladro) di Sarah Leonor, in concorso, che ha sconvolto il Festival di Locarno, proprio per la presenza del giovane Depardieu, un fantasma, ormai, visto il suo decesso. Certo e che Guillaume, figlio del grande Gerard ha nel sangue il valore d'attore che qui nobilita con un ruolo che non si addice alla sua chiara inabilita. Ha solo una gamba, l'altra l'ha persa in un incidente, ma recita comunque per superare limiti della vita. Lo scopriamo rubare l'orologio di una giovane insegnante appena investita sulle strisce. Lo ritroviamo innamorato, ricambiato, prima a rubare un'auto, poi in fuga con la stessa donna. La sua sfida alla disgrazia della vita la condivide con il suo personaggio; su piani diversi i due si sentono perdenti, pieni di contraddizioni, amano e odiano la vita. E quando alla fine di una fuga lunga un film il personaggio muore, sorridendo, e da lacrime il sapere che con la recita finisce una vita. Film del non detto, questo Au voler lascia ai luoghi, la citta, la periferia, il fiume e la campagna, il compito di guidare le emozioni con malinconica energia. Con Guillaume Depardieu c'e una bravissima e tenera Florence Loiret Caille. Di buon livello la fotografia di Laurent Desmet.

A REAL LIFE - EastWest Filmdistribution GmbH