Where will Objectif France, the new documentary directed by Thomas Pesquet, take you?

Thomas Pesquet, the French Tom Cruise. Screenshot France Televisions.

SEEN IN PREVIEW – With this film presented at Fipadoc and broadcast in the coming months on France Télévisions, the astronaut wants to warn about the major environmental challenges facing France.

The ocean is at the end of the beach, but they pay little attention to it. In the art deco building of the Municipal Casino of Biarritz, spectators came to watch the launch, not of a space shuttle, but of a film about space – pleasure without the inconvenience. The organizers of fipadoc themselves seem surprised at their enthusiasm. It can be summed up in two words: Thomas Pésquet. The French Tom Cruise. The man who speaks in the ears of extraterrestrials. The prospect of hearing the astronaut, absent in Biarritz, recount the delights and pangs of life in space arouses curiosity. It appears from start to finish in this deliberately spectacular documentary, entitled Objective France. France Television will broadcast it ” in some months “.

The experience of fragility

During his missions in the international space station, Thomas Pesquet has riddled with photos – 245,000 – the blue planet. These shots, along with many images captured by drone at lower altitudes, therefore illustrate the film. From up there, Saint-Valery-en-Caux looks like a painting by Serge Poliakoff and the bays of Brittany look like a landscape by Nicolas de Staël. The astronaut then left to check all over the country, from Guyana to Mont-Blanc, the impressions gleaned in orbit. Thus we see Thomas on a glacier, Thomas in the jungle or even Thomas on the farm.

The major environmental challenges of the time, the erosion of our cliffs protection of corals, are at the heart of this documentary directed by Vincent Pérazio and Xavier Lefebvre, who both know the subject well. The camera places the spectator, with zooms and slow motions, at the level of the pistil and the pollen. “It’s still a bit sweet”, slips a thirty-year-old into the room. He’s not wrong. The teenagers present seem more convinced, because of the ecological discourse. “We are in a mess. But who could have predicted the climate crisis? » loose a young Biarrote, bitter and ironic, at the exit.

“We experience fragility up there”observes in the film Thomas Pesquet, who remembers his outings “extra-vehicular”. 40 hours in all, attached to a wire from the station. The astronaut wants to convince us, with his own words, of the preciousness of this source of life “protected by a thin layer of atmosphere” what is Earth. The rest of the universe is black, mute, vertiginous. He knows it: he has seen it. At the same time, Fipadoc, which offers a rich program to festival-goers and loves amazing stories, also presented Cathedral. A documentary about Don Justo, this Spanish monk who died in 2021 who built, without instruction, a church with his hands. Here too, a challenge to gravity and finitude.

SEE ALSO – Thomas Pesquet presents us the favorite photo of his book: “We see the layer of the atmosphere that protects us from death, from darkness, from nothing”

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