The film was given as a gift from a friend of mine Dan Wasserman, which was appropriate as the two of us spent near three months on a small boat in 2006. Upon my first viewing of the film I instantly fell in love with the piece both because of its accuracy and portrayal of traveling the seas, and for its well designed editorial pace and poetically written script. Since then I have watch it numerous times both in memory of my own trip and because of my enjoyment of watching this strange little man and his in-depth perspective of what it is like to take on such a task.
Jean-du-Sud is the name of the little craft that Yves Gelinas, the filmmaker and solo voyager, travels on around the world. Written into the piece as the main character Jean becomes the true hero of the journey as she works her way around the world carrying young Yves with her as a companion. Over the several months of traveling and challenges that arise the two form a formidable bond that I think for someone who has never done a trip like this may think a little strange (something like Tom Hanks and Wilson in Cast Away), but accurate none the less.
The two of them start out on the downward slop of the Atlantic finding themselves enjoying the simplicity and pleasures of sailing in a calm season and a small ocean. Eating hand-made bread, enjoying the warmth of the equatorial climates, and chatting with a short wave radio friend from Nova Scotia, all make sailing the globe seem blissful and easy, however the notion that sailing the globe is something that can be taken lightly is always a mistake. Several months into the trip the two find themselves cut off from their outside contacts. Battling with depression, exhaustion, and lost of motivation they loose there focus, broach the boat, and end up demasted and broken with nothing but a jerry-rig and a patch up job of what the mast used to be to bring them onto shore and end the trip. Seemingly done with the voyage Yves returns home broken hearted, but his will is strong and he returns to his love Jean some months later to finish what they started and rebuilds, repairs, and returns successfully to the sea and their voyage together.
Seeing this cute this little man in his funny sea born outfits with at times no outfit at all, is entertaining and in some ways enlightening. Watching as he crafts and cast a beautiful kite into the air, with camera attached and seeing it fly high overhead looking down on the craft and man below is a highlight. Feeling his struggle as he misses his children while at sea for the holidays is insightful. And watching as he dips into depression, is broken by the sea, and recovers to finish the trip, is inspiring. When you think about it, its not many times in life that one can take a trip like this. But if you have, want to, or would like to know what it is like, this little film would be a good place to start.
Hope you enjoy write me if you see or have seen I would love to hear your thoughts.