Alain Guiraudie, whose film L’inconnu du lac was screened at IFFR 2014, often uses sex and death as themes in his work. The darker side of humanity comes to the surface in Staying Vertical as well, albeit quite a few intriguing steps further. This dark surreal comedy is simultaneously moving, alienating and shocking. The backdrop is formed by the wilds of the South of France, with a poetic beauty yet also filled with threatening danger. Homo-erotic tension is always hanging in the air and reaches an unexpected climax.
Caught up among sexually ambiguous characters, unusual family constellations and the continuous threat of wolves, scriptwriter Léo (Damien Bonnard) tries to wrestle himself free from his writer’s block. Or better: to flee from it. His roamings bring him to the shepherdess Marie, with whom he becomes involved. They soon have a child together, but Marie deserts him and the baby. Léo tries – with child and without money or plan – to stay vertical.