My Donkey, my Lover and I: Caroline Vignal keeps summer lingering on

"Love exists!" according to Caroline Vignal's Antoinette dans les Cévennes (My Donkey, My Lover and I), a moving road trip comedy starring Laure Calamy, Benjamin Lavernhe and Olivia Côte. In Official Selection for the Festival de Cannes 2020, the filmmaker's second film following Les autres filles (Girlfriends) in 2000 will be in cinemas from 16 September, leaving summer to linger a little longer after a warm welcome at the Festival Francophone d’Angoulême.

Antoinette has been looking forward to the summer and the prospect of spending a week with her lover, Vladimir, for months. So when he cancels their holiday plans to go walking in the Cévennes with his wife and daughter, Antoinette doesn't think twice – she sets out to follow him! But when she arrives, Vladimir is nowhere to be seen. Instead, she finds Patrick, a stubborn donkey who accompanies her through a most unusual adventure…

This stunning journey along the GR70 route was motivated by the desire to film the untamed landscapes of the Cévennes, the region's light, its atmosphere and locals. It is also the French director's reading of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes", a love story layered under an ode to walking. As Antoinette reads at the midpoint of both the film and her journey: "We are all travellers in the desert of life. And we are all travellers with a donkey, too."

Antoinette's donkey will go on to test her patience. Carting her inappropriate outfits and illicit relationship around like baggage in the eyes of the other walkers, the teacher struggles with her travel buddy's sluggishness until she realises that the donkey is more receptive to the sound of her voice. Her walk becomes a confession, the open road an exploration of the self, and the animal a long-eared therapist, as an amusing and touching transference takes place.

"A refreshing, incredibly funny comedy (…) buoyed by an effervescent, irresistibly zany Laure Calamy." Le Figaro

By examining her anti-heroine's trials and tribulations from a humorous angle, Caroline Vignal captures a tender and nuanced portrait of an inner journey that unwinds as walking trails unfurl and encounters unfold. This is the irresistible Laure Calamy's first film role, after having been showcased in the series Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent!)

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