4 Days in France (2017)

French director Jerome Reybaud’s feature film debut follows Pierre (Pascal Cervo), a Parisian teacher who quietly exits the apartment he shares with his lover Paul (Arthur Igual) on a motor odyssey through the south of France.

Pierre has no destination in mind, and uses the Grindr gay hook-up app to find available men interested in a no-string rendezvous. “France is huge,” he states. “Full of men, full of possibilities.” Along the way, Pierre encounters a surplus number of colorful characters who launch into conversations with very little prompting. Unknown to Pierre, the despondent Paul has rented a car and is trying to follow his elusive lover via a telephone app that Pierre is using.

Too much of the film feels like a travelogue for southern France – the bucolic countryside, quaint towns and inspiring Alpine vistas are a joy to behold, even if they serve as a backdrop for Pierre’s tacky hunt of quickie sex. Reybaud’s penchant for very long unbroken takes gives the film a sense of monotony, especially when the dialogue turns banal; at 137 minutes, the film is absurdly overlong.

Cervo’s blandly handsome looks effectively mask his character’s casual cruelty, but Igual drudges through the drama with the same beleaguered expression, and their inevitable reunion is a major anti-climax.

One bright spot in this film is the legendary actress/dancer Liliane Montevecchi in a too small role as Pierre’s theater actress aunt who offers life advice that he ultimately ignores. Montevecchi’s presence offers a sense of dignity and humanity that this flick otherwise fails to create.