“Sur les chemins noirs”, Jean Dujardin in the adaptation of Sylvain Tesson’s bestseller

It’s a big bet that director Denis Imbert made by adapting the travel writer’s ordeal, his story 1,300 kilometers diagonally across the void, into a movie. A big success in bookstores, will “Sur les chemins noirs” by a “bankable” actor be successful in theaters? And above all, will Tesson’s readers find the essence of the book there? Release date of the feature film – Verdict on 23rd March.

It should be noted that in 2014, writer-traveler Sylvain Tesson fell from the roof. “Eight meters was enough to break my ribs, my vertebrae, my skull,” he said. Once in the hospital, after a week in a coma, “in bed in a corset,” he said to himself: “If I get out of this, I’ll cross France on foot.” Less than a year later, still in bad shape, here it is on the roads of the famous diagonal of the void, a large part of the area where the population density is lower than elsewhere. Its purpose? Connect Mercantour to the English Channel.

Nearly three months of homelessness followed—rehab, but also a search for a startup. “I had to travel around the world and fall from a roof, and there, before my eyes, in a country so close that I do not know the wrinkles, there are strips of a country open to mystery, immersed in pure silence, miraculously empty”, Sylvain Tesson was later published by Gallimard in 2016- will tell you more in the adventure story Sur les chemins noirs, published in October 2018. The original story, starring Jean Dujardin and directed by Denis Imbert, was adapted for the big screen seven years later, and is scheduled for release on March 22.

“If you come to see the movie and tell yourself you want to find the book, you’re going to be disappointed.”

Jean Dujardin? An unlikely actor to star in Sur les chemins noirs, a far cry from Brice de Nice or OSS 117. “Comedy [me] it always sticks a little too much to the skin”, I have no problem with that, I live very well with my clowns, (…), he explains before adding: “I have a rather old relationship with the market: when I started I was 13-14 years old . I was a scout […] We meet 5-6 friends every year. I did Chemin des Douaniers, Vallée des Merveilles, Cote d’Argent. I like to walk, lose myself in them and move forward. […] Tesson is a true adventurer, even daring. I’m a daydreamer.”

“If you come to see the movie and say you want to find the book, you’re going to be disappointed,” the actor continues. “If you are open, maybe something will happen, but so be it. So it’s not Sylvain Tesson is Pierre [nom du personnage principal incarnant l’écrivain-voyageur dans le film, que Jean Dujardin incarne, ndlr]. There is an obvious connection between our stories, but I never wanted to play Sylvain Tesson. It would be inappropriate and stupid.”

“All the ingredients were there for a non-film”

It remains to be seen whether Denis Imbert’s film, which we owe to The Secret , a film in the same universe, will have the same reception as Sylvain Tesson’s cinematic adaptation of Dans les Siberian Forests. ”, directed by Safy Nebbou in 2016 (262,648 admissions at the box office – not so bad for a documentary, very bad for fiction). “All the ingredients were there for a non-film: a silent and lonely place, itself like a great absence,” admitted the travel writer, who confirmed that he was not involved in one way or another at the time. , in the set. It was necessary to bring a literary dimension, and when I watched his earlier films, I realized that what Safi Nebbu was interested in was words, cinema of introspection, and I was convinced. […] I trust them completely. [à Safy Nebbou, le réalisateur et Raphaël Personnaz, l’acteur qui incarne Sylvain Tesson, ndlr] and I was right: I’m happy with the result.”

It appears that Sylvain Tesson is no longer featured in Sur les chemins noirs. Undoubtedly, the success of the story in bookstores (532,000 copies sold, including 230,000 copies in the White collection alone), a work that will be led by a strong cast (Jean Dujardin, Izia Higelin, Anny Duperey, Jonathan Zaccaï and Joséphine Japy). With the growing popularity of the author, who recently won the Renaudot prize for his book about the high plateaus of Tibet, “La Panthère des Neiges” with wildlife photographer Vincent Munier.

Header image: Apollo Films

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Sylvain Tesson

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