How to Teach the Geese a New Migration Path

in 24th International Film Festival for Children and Young Audiences, Chemnitz

by Ivan Magrin-Chagnolleau

Spread Your Wings is the fourth narrative feature film by French director Nicolas Vanier (The School of Life, Belle and Sebastian), also well known for his documentaries about nature and the big North. It tells the story of Thomas (Louis Vasquez), a 15 years old teenager, who has to spend a holiday in the French countryside with his estranged dad (Jean-Paul Rouve), because his mom (Mélanie Doutey) wants to spend some time alone with her new companion. The dad is an eccentric character who is passionate about nature, the environment and birds – and has decided to teach the geese a new migration path.

As utopian as it sounds, the passion of the dad is highly contagious and soon the son abandons his screens and new technologies to involve himself in the project of his father to the point where he becomes the main actor and driving force of it.

Through this unexpected adventure, Thomas learns the importance of paying attention to his surroundings, of preserving the environment and the endangered species, and bonds with his father, once he understands him better.

The film is amazingly filmed by director Nicolas Vanier and cinematographer Éric Guichard. The actors are extremely well directed and amazing, particularly Louis Vasquez playing Thomas and Jean-Paul Rouve (Lola and her Brothers, C’est la vie!) playing Christian, the dad. Even the supporting roles are very well interpreted (the mom, Mélanie Doutey; Bjorn, the colleague and friend of the dad, Frédéric Saurel; Diane, the journalist, Lilou Fogli, who is also a co-writer of the film). The beautiful music, composed by Anne-Sophie Versnaeyen, accompanies with delicacy and at times an epic quality this utopian adventure.

But as utopian as this story sounds, it is in fact based on a true story. Utopias are highly needed in a world where dystopias largely occupy our screens and our imagination. Yes, it is possible to find solutions to our most urgent and important problems: the climate, the environment, the water, the energy, the food. And this film is a brilliant example of how one person can change something in the world.

Ivan Magrin-Chagnolleau
Edited by Karsten Kastelan