Film Short

Photo by Teri Mello

Award-winning French film

Posted October 19, 2006

"Quand la Mer Monte" ("When the Sea Rises" Winner 2005 French Cesar Award) is a sweet and genuinely off-beat romantic comedy written and directed by acclaimed French comedienne Yolande Moreau (Amelie, The Horseman On The Roof, Vagabond) and cinematographer Gilles Porte.

Showcasing outstanding performances by Ms. Moreau (Winner 2005 Cesar, Best Actress) and newcomer Wim Willaert, 'When the Sea Rises' tells the story of Irene (Moreau), a 45-year-old actress traveling from one small French town to another with her one-woman show, "Dirty Business."

Slyly funny in her masked on-stage persona, Irene is a genial pro at touring alone, phoning home to her husband and child and sleeping in a new hotel each night. Things change when a scooter-driving vagabond named Dries (Willaert) fixes her stalled car. After accepting an invitation to her show, Dries soon appears at every stop on tour as her "randomly selected" audience participant. What develops is a remarkably natural and tender affair between two true eccentrics, their exuberance and playfulness mixing with a mature, mutual longing.

Irene's spare stage show alternates with scenes set against northern France's oddly lush industrial landscape. From majestic tree-lined streets and rolling farmland to beachfront factories and smoky pubs, Mr. Porte's camera vividly captures a singularly beautiful region. Ms. Moreau and Mr. Porte's debut is a lovingly made and deeply personal film. "When the Sea Rises" evokes Ms. Moreau's own life in theater, revisiting some of the same stages and towns that she toured earlier in her career. It is also a bittersweet valentine to the intensely intimate (and cruelly transient) nature of love on the road.

"When the Sea Rises," Friday, Oct. 20, 7:30 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring St., Vineyard Haven. Presented by the Martha's Vineyard Film Society. Tickets $6 or $4 for members. Visit for more information.