Gagarine Review Movie
Yuri Gagarin, the world's first Cosmonaut, is the name that lends in Fanny Liatard and Jeremy Trouilh's stunning debut film, and to the actual housing development within which it's depicted. A relic of French communism during the 1960s, Gagarin himself attended the project's opening ceremony, connecting the Soviet goals of technological advancement and a sense of community together into one huge home. A home that, more than sixty years on, an young man is trying to help.
Youri (Alseni Bathily) who is an occupant in the Gagarine estate is on a mission. A mission (which compares to the one of the hero of his name, Space Race, is perhaps not as big) which Liatard and Trouilh achieve with the same emotional heft as more familiar space-based adventures such as Contact as well as Apollo 13, without ever being able to leave the ground. The only one left to take care of himself following the departure of his mother, Youri takes on restoring the estate back to its former glory in order to prevent it from falling into. In enlisting fellow resident Houssam (Jamil McCraven) and scrappage fanatic Diana (Lyna Khoudri) for a sequence of wire-clipping, bulb-changes and paint-rolling. We see Youri's incredibly committed and passionate brand of Right Stuff.
Alseni Bathily brings a soft physicality and a quiet passion to the role of Youri.
A space-loving nerd with a lot of knowledge, Youri views the Gagarine estate through a stunning camera and the brickwork in orange glowing on the screen like the Martian surface. He walks through it wearing a Blue Adidas costume, his camera floating about as if in a state of zero gravity. Infuriatingly sucked into these captivating images is archival footage of a spaceship and urban devastation and a sloppy way of underlining the position of Youri and severing the flow of the story, as well as Bathily's captivating performance.
In contrast to the masculine characters or cliched geeks who are typically recruited to direct an space-based adventure on screen, Bathily brings a gentle physique and a quiet passion to the character, with a performance that develops more complex as the movie grows more eerie and mystical. In the final line of defense, he snuck within the estate and transforms it into an exclusive space station. his vibrant inner world colliding with the stark reality and transforming the film's final scene to a spectacular-realist triumph. It's rare for a film to be as simple.