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La Fille de l'Air

This big-screen treatment of a notorious 1986 French prison breakout plays rather like an extended TV 'reconstruction'. It's based on the autobiography of Nadine Vaujour (Dalle), a secretary who fell for fugitive armed robber Michel (Fortineau), when her petty-crook brother asked her to shelter him. After a doomed attempt to go straight, Michel was recaptured and given a heavy sentence, while Nadine served several months on a complicity charge - during which time the couple married and she gave birth to a son. On release, distressed by Michel's mental deterioration, this determined woman learned to fly a helicopter and successfully freed her husband from prison. Lebanese director Bagdadi handles the physical details with visceral aplomb (a raid on the Vaujour household is, for example, absolutely terrifying), but neglects the contextualising niceties of characterisation. It's one thing to allow the audience room to consider their own moral perspective, another, surely, to leave the motivations of these real-life people so frustratingly opaque. A stellar cast can do little but look scruffy and hope the narrative's factual interest gets them through. It does (just), but the psychological grit of the story is clearly elsewhere.

Release details

Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Maroun Bagdadi
Screenwriter: Florence Quentin, Dan Franck, Maroun Bagdadi
Cast: Béatrice Dalle
Thierry Fortineau
Hippolyte Girardot
Roland Bertin
Liliane Rovère