Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mercenaire : Rugby-based French film showing in Dublin


I recently had the opportunity to see “Mercenaire” (Mercenary) which will be showing at the French Film Festival at the IFI in Temple Bar for the next two Fridays.

First, an official synopsis…

In Sacha Wolff’s gritty debut, Soane, a nineteen-year-old Pacific Islander (a powerfully convincing Toki Pilioko) grabs an opportunity to leave his idyllic yet abusive home environment in New Caledonia for France when he is offered a professional rugby contract.

In France, the fish-out-of-water Soane must contend with shady managers who expect him to use performance-enhancing drugs and train with racist teammates, convinced he is Maori and goading him to perform the Haka. His tenuous position however is further endangered as his past comes back to haunt him.

One thing is for sure...Invictus this ain’t!  And I don’t mean that as a bad thing.  This certainly  isn’t a story about glory and heroes on the rugby pitch with a trophy being carried aloft at the end.

It is instead about a journey...a promising young prop from New Caledonia (in the South Pacific - though his heritage is from the Wallis Islands) is spotted by an opportunist looking to profit from bringing talent into the lower tiers of the French system.  

Young Soane has as many reasons to leave as those he is offered to go, but as you can see from the clip below, once he gets there he is met with a whole new set of challenges.

Mercenaire deals with a lot of adult themes and these are the focus of the narrative...rugby simply provides the setting but I have to say the match action sequences are extremely well done, and there are a couple of chilling renditions of the haka as well.  There is also reference to the taking of steroids including one hilarious scene when he has to take a test - I’ll say no more!

So once you don’t mind subtitles then this is definitely worth a watch if you’ll be around Temple Bar one of the following two Fridays.  The screenings are :


At time of writing the tickets seem to be selling well but even if it is listed as “sold out” you are advised to ring the ticket office anyway as there may be tickets that have become available.  Check the link above for you preferred night.  Enjoy!  JLP

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