The Crossing

The Crossing


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Stephane Bouquet, a gay man in his mid-30s, has never met his father. All he knows is that he's the son of Douglas Rhea, an American soldier who was stationed in France. Indeed, because Stephane's mother hid her pregnancy from Douglas and made little effort to contact him, he may not even know he has a son.

Now, encouraged by his filmmaker friend, Sebastien Lifshitz, Stephane embarks on a journey to find his father.

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Though not without interest, this documentary is too intimate, introspective and personal to really reach the viewer.

The problem is not that Stephane is a reluctant, reticent subject. He's very open about hopes and fears, but all too often nothing else exists to provide a counterpoint to his dominating presence.

Indeed, very French philosophical notions of being and nothingness, presence and absence and suchlike seem to permeate the film.

At one point, for instance, Stephane speculates that his father died in Vietnam, as Lifshitz plays found footage of US soldiers. Stephane's words and Lifshitz's images come together, inviting us to constitute some possibilities against others. Then a visit to the records office in Washington DC confirms that Douglas Rhea is still alive. Contingencies change once more.

In the end, there's too much intellectualised speculation and not enough substantive content to The Crossing. It's cleverly made, but perhaps too clever for its own good.

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2001
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The Crossing packshot
A gay Frenchman goes in search of the American dad he has never met.

Director: Sebastien Lifshitz

Starring: Stephane Bouquet

Year: 2001

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: France


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