Holy Tour (La Grande Messe)(Fortunat-Rossi and Rosier, 2018): Belgium, France

Reviewed by Matheus Clorado. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2019.Image from Holy Tour Dir-Scr Valéry Rosier, Méryl Fortunat-Rossi

Holy Tour, originally titled La Grande Messe, opens euphorically, assisted by beautiful visuals of Col d’Izoard and a powerful score announcing something epic is about to happen. Then, the glorious sonic atmospheric effects are abruptly interrupted as we enter the world of our ordinary characters, who trivially are presented in plain silence.

As this light-hearted and uplifting feature progresses, the routine is always there; through their actions, behavior and interactions – all portrayed in real time.

We’re faced with different couples, living their third age, and excited about an older passion of them. The Tour de France meant so much to each of them that being as close to the finish line as they can might perhaps give them that closure for their youth days they needed, or just ignite a brand new time for them. We, as viewers, find ourselves televised, inaccurate about the deeper meanings of this national event. Our newly acquainted friends execute an outstanding job at welcoming us in their French tradition.

The movie is bright, its hi-key lighting and beautiful aerial shots of the incredible nature the protagonists are surrounded by paint a beautiful picture of the place where the story unfolds.

“If you don’t laugh, you grow old”, says one of our leads. Through their many struggles and daily emotional battles, we become familiar with the humans behind each face filmed.

This sweet movie touches on emotional subjects such as aging, family and legacy. It brings our attention to what it means to be from a nation and it might raise one question in a few hearts – how much of a patriot are you?

And what does that mean, anyway?

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