public vote N / A
final vote 2.5 / 5
You don’t have to ask #I am here more than the film cannot and does not want to give. Apply Label: Bittersweet sentimental comedy, directed by Eric Lartigau and distributed in Italian cinemas by Ubu workshops from October 14, 2021. There is nothing in here that has not been said before, which is about love, distance, social and culture. Well, badly, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the sobriety of the packaging and the predictability (not always a bad thing) of the themes are accompanied by a melancholy tone and a basic modesty that are welcomed.
The story of Stéphane and Soo between Instagram, Korea and cherry blossoms
Director Eric Lartigau boasts a certain familiarity with the Italian public due to the success, a few years ago, of de The Bélier family. This time it’s up to Stéphane (Alain Chabat), a middle-aged and somewhat successful chef. He has a nice club in the (French) Basque country, two children who have grown up well overall and a tendency to focus too much on what concerns him and forget about the rest. Stéphane also has a little secret. A social, sentimental and transcontinental secret. Nothing less.
Thanks to Instagram Stéphane makes the virtual acquaintance of Soo (Doona Bae), a young Korean woman with whom he shares a couple of passions. First of all the art, the woman in fact remotely remakes the furnishing of Stéphane’s restaurant, then the saying goodbye via chat and finally the cherry trees in bloom. Cherry trees are the spark he uses #I am here, wrote Lartigau in the company of Thomas Bidegain, right arm of Jacques Audiard, to start the fire.
The man decides to take advantage of the flowering to give up everything, run away to Korea and there, perhaps, from what comes what. What Stéphane does not foresee is the (understandably) cautious reaction of the woman, who leaves the appointment at the airport and leaves the protagonist alone like a dog. Stéphane does not give up, he stays at the airport to wait for the woman to change her mind and come and pick him up, documenting every step of his crazy loving tenacity on social media. He will become a champion of visualizations, finding the time to learn something about love, his life, the weight of distance and a Korean concept that is difficult to translate literally but that can be framed by speaking of emotional intelligence.
#I am here: love, distance and social
In conclusion, #I am here it’s not a social movie any more than it is She (Her) it wasn’t an artificial intelligence movie. The protagonist’s airport wandering has something of the gait of the dazed “alien” played by Tom Hanks in The Terminal, directed by Steven Spielberg. Perhaps we can talk about time zones and misunderstandings without mentioning, the Asian setting here is an aggravating circumstance, the confusion and the bewilderment of Lost in Translation? This is to say that Eric Lartigau’s film has clear ideas about the models to borrow, dosing the ingredients without allowing one flavor to take over all the others.
The film is about many things. Of the traps and seductions hidden in the real / virtual dialectic offered every day by the social universe. Distances, physical, spiritual, geographical, cultural. And how these distances reflect the inability of human beings to find a common language capable of overcoming the limits of their interiority and solitude. Stéphane runs away and looks for love. You will find… anticipating too much would be a shame, what you can tell is that many of the answers that the protagonist pursues are closer than expected.
#I am here it uses social media and related dynamics for what they can offer and does not go much further, but has the merit of not approaching the subject with any kind of moralism. Flirt with ideas about life and love of a certain consistency, such as those outlined above, perhaps not going too deep, and without proposing shocking solutions. But finding a way to capture attention, thanks to the director’s instinctive empathy towards the story and those who live there. Also, above all, thanks to the steady hand of the protagonist Alain Chabat who sails through the film with grace, modesty and a hint of melancholy. Reinforcing the speech with flashes of calm dignity.