The Castaways of the Fol Espoir (Théâtre du Soleil) [VOD]


The Castaways of the Fol Espoir

A film-crew in the early twentieth century, the cabaret known as ‘Le Fol Espoir’ has been transformed into an amateur soundstage. The motion picture tells the story of a ship and its passengers – from the famous opera singer down to the petty criminal. The film is an optimistic political fable intended to educate the masses. There’s comedy aplenty – slapstick punches, custard pies and gags reminiscent of Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle; there’s adventure, high drama moments of great bravura , and passionate love stories.

The filming begins on June 28th 1914, the day of the Archiduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo, the gunpowder that sets Europe alight. It ends with news of another assassination – that of Jean Jaures on July 31st followed by the general conscription of August 1st, heralded by church bells across France. The allegory of the shipwreck is filmed at breakneck pace during the last five weeks before war breaks out.


The Castaways of the Fol Espoir

A film directed by Ariane Mnouchkine

After a collective creation by the Théâtre du Soleil

Half-written by Hélène Cixous

Music Jean-Jacques Lemêtre

Inspired by Jules Verne

Image gallery

“Ariane Mnouchkine also uses film-making as a metaphor for the theatrical process and pointedly asks whether democratic collectivity is compatible with a strong artistic vision”. – The Guardian

“Like a great Wagnerian conductor she [Ariane Mnouchkine] holds the entire arc of the evening in her hand, knowing where she is going to end from the very first moment […] Just genius”. – The Times