AFI Fest Review: “A L’abordage” is an Engaging Story of Friendship & Discovery

Director Guilluame Brac‘s new film “A L’abordage” is a heart-felt story of unexpected friendships, summer romance and self-discovery. The French film opens with a moody blues color palette as the background for revelry in the Paris streets. After a quick fling with a young woman visiting the city, Felix (Éric Nantchouang) decides to surprise her by taking a road trip out to visit her (after only knowing each other for a couple of days). He enlists the help of his best friend Chérif (Salif Cissé) to help out with the fool-hearted romantic mission. They book a ride share with up-tight momma’s boy Édourad (Édouard Sulpice) who is none-to-pleased that the two girls who booked the ride are actually two dudes.

Édouard Sulpice, Éric Nantchouang & Salif Cissé

So of course the trio doesn’t really get along at first. And after Felix talks Édouard into taking a scenic route through some narrow streets (where he breaks the axel on his mom’s car), Édouard is now stuck with the fellas at the camp site for at least a week until his car can be fixed. As he begins to come out of his shell, he unwittingly begins to bond with the two city boys. Along the way, some shenanigans go down between Felix and Alma (who was just playing games anyway and a real brat) and the trio learn things about themselves and the world on their journey to self-discovery and acceptance.

In the end, “A L’abordage”s exuberant cinematography and relatable story really teaches us to get out of our comfort zone and really open ourselves up to life and its possibilities — sometimes we have to take risks. And I really enjoyed the fact that the film had a diverse, fresh-faced cast and the characters and performances were just so authentic and personable. And the fact that these two Black Parisian young men were traversing in white spaces where they really were the only minorities and it wasn’t a major plot line or point of apprehension or uncomfortableness. I look forward to seeing more work from all of these young actors.