Raoul Taburin *
from Pierre Godeau
French film, 1 h 30
From the universe of Sempé, we like the prettiness in a few strokes of sober pencils, the soft poetry tinged with absurdity and the delicacy of characters kindly zany. For the first time, a filmmaker tries to adapt on the big screen and, let us concede it immediately, manages to transcribe it gracefully. Modest hero of a graphic novel Sempé, Raoul Taburin is secretly tormented by a secret: he does not know how to ride a bike.
Jean-Jacques Sempé, eternal child
Peccadille, one might think, but this postman's son can not follow him on his tour, while the tradition of the family succession is strongly anchored in the customs of the village. To compensate for this shortcoming, Raoul starts repairing the bicycles with a meticulousness at the height of his feeling of imposture. To the point that all the inhabitants of the neighborhood come to entrust their two-wheelers to him, that he opens a workshop of repair and sale, and that "taburin" imposes itself in the talk of the vintage like a synonym of bicycle – just like the surnames of butchers and optician designate pieces of meat and glasses.
To get out of this impasse, Raoul Taburin has tried many times to reveal his shameful handicap, but, and this is the other element of his drama, no one has ever believed it. On the contrary, his impressive falls nourished the legend of an artist of the little queen. His marriage to Madeleine could have sounded the death knell of his torment, the soul-sister, anxious, having made him promise never to go back in the saddle, but the arrival of the photographer Hervé Figougne upsets this fragile balance.
The timeless little world of Sempé
A delightful village lit by a summer sun and costumes that accompany each character at all ages of his life give the film a timeless color that befits the little world of Sempé. Fan of his work, Benoît Poelvoorde incarnates Raoul Taburin in a delicious alchemy of childish twists and innocent torments, alongside Suzanne Clément (Madeleine), direct and solar, and Edouard Baer who instills in Hervé Figougne an elegant second degree.
At first funny, the voice of Taburin-Poelvoorde, which speaks in a very written tone and a tender irony, the infirmity that afflicts it ends up being stifling. It lasts far too long and it will take the arrival of Hervé Figougne so that this interminable flashback remotely commented finally gives way to scenes in the present. They offer, with the irruption of the dialogues, the breath which until then lacked this film built on a tenuous intrigue.