88 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: 1998 (Cannes)
Production Company: Max Films
Canadian Distributor: France Film/Red Sky
On August 32nd everything changes for 26-year-old Simone Prevost (Pascale Bussieres). After a frightening car accident, she is faced with her own mortality and solitude. With the realization that “No one is eternally eternal,” she quits her international modelling career, cancels a trip to Italy, and embarks full force on her newfound mission: to have a child. Despite his lifelong attraction to her, her best friend Philippe is taken aback by Simone’s request that he be the father. But, bound by a naive promise made earlier, he reluctantly agrees – on the absurd random condition that they conceive in a desert. Amused, but not to be deterred, Simone quickly arranges flights to the nearest desert: Salt Lake City. Alas, the salt desert, despite its awesome majesty, does not inspire their passions. Hipped off and abused further by a cabbie, Simone and Philippe are abandoned in the middle of a seemingly endless expanse of desert. As if that is not enough, they are further tested by an event that will continue to haunt Simone. By the time they return to the airport they have missed their flight. The failed spontaneity of the moment weighs heavily on Philippe, and his aboutface may prove catastrophic to their relationship. Their journey has permanently altered their lives. They are stuck in the fuzzy territory between romantic love and profound friendship. On September 5th, they come crashing down to reality.
Un 32 août sur terre screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Alexis Martin won the Prix Jutra for Best Actor and The film was selected as the Canadian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Academy Awards, but was not nominated. This film marks Denis Villeneuve’s feature directorial debut and in its writeup of the film in 1998, TIFF stated Un 32 août sur terre “establishes him as an impressive new talent.”