Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Film review: La Régate

I am incredibly happy to introduce my blog’s first guest writer, mademoiselle Hélène Rémond of France. Among many things, Hélène is a journalist, and interested in all kind of aspects of rowing. You might have seen her name in my entries earlier as she, now and then, has sent me material or come up with ideas that I have tried to elaborate and present in my blog. Here is a film review of Bernard Bellefroid’s new film La Régate, which has just been released in a couple of countries in Europe, that Hélène has specially written for this blog. My warmest gratitude goes to her for doing so!

La Régate (‘The Boat Race’) by filmmaker Bernard Bellefroid

With Joffrey Verbruggen, Sergi Lopez, Thierry Hancisse (from the Comédie Française) and Pénélope Lévèque.

Belgian director Bellefroid’s first feature film La Régate has been shown since last Wednesday in France. The Belgian public could see it today. As to Luxembourg, the film will be on the big screen on 26th this month. Where else will the story of 15 year-old Alexandre be projected? Time will tell. This is a moving, touching, sensitive film in an original environment usually not given much coverage: rowing. The actors’ performance is very convincing. Inspired by Bellefroid’s own experience, it is a social drama, the poignant story of Alex beaten by his father with whom he is living. He finds the way of getting out of this violence by being involved in rowing to win the Belgian championship.

The setting of the Meuse river where he rows is radiant. The rock soundtrack illustrates well Alex’s rage used in a positive way, to surpass himself in the boat. It contrasts with the dark side of the apartment where much tension is felt. It is the story of a harsh relationship between a father and his son, the inability to show love when suffering is overwhelming. At the Rowing Club, with the help of the coach, Sergi, and Murielle, the girl he’s in love with, Alex will learn how to regain human values, to exchange with others, to love... He is initiated to the values of rowing: willpower, surpassing of oneself, solidarity, team spirit. It is a sport requiring strength and endurance and Alex needs these qualities to be able to escape his suffocating past. The film ends on this quote: “To the men who'll never be sons. To the sons looking for their dads. To the dads who don't know their sons no more To my future children I can finally dream of.”

La Régate
has won prizes at Namur Film Festival 2009, at the International Rome Film Festival and at Angers Film Festival 2010.

Hélène Rémond


  1. This sounds like a movie worth watching. It is available in English or is it subtitled?

  2. I also think this could be a film worth watching. However, right now it is only shown in France and Belgium, and will be released in Luxembourg tomorrow. Other French-speaking countries, like Switzerland and Canada/Québec, have shown interest. Miss Rémond has actually been in contact with the person responsible for international sales at Pyramide International, (, the distributor of the film. He told her that there was no distributor in the USA at the moment. Let us keep our fingers cross that there eventually will be one!

  3. Hi this is Sagar from France. The article is amazing. I have not seen the movie yet although its playing in the nearby cinema. From what I have heard, the french audience found it a bit violent for kids. But it still reflects a plausible reality. Another point worth mentioning is: please watch the movie as the young boy's triumph over trauma via rowing and not pointers to rowing technique. Enjoy!

  4. Bill VanderfeltFriday, 21 May, 2010

    Is a DVD of the film already available? I can find nothing on Amazon.

  5. I am afraid not yet, Bill. I promise to post the information when I hear that it has been released on DVD.

  6. I have just learnt a DVD will be available in September. And for readers living in Switzerland... La Régate will be shown in the cinemas on July 7th.