Alone (“Seuls”), by David Moreau
Adapted from a successful comic book, Alone plunges a group of teenagers into a wild world without adults. Between a horror film and a teen movie, here David Moreau has created a coming-of-age thriller.
A specialist in genre films, David Moreau was a pillar of the “French Frayeur”, a movement that showcased French-style horror films and filled cinemas in the mid-2000s, thanks to the unexpected success of his first feature film, Them (“Ils") co-directed with Xavier Palud.
This smash hit gained him a foothold in Hollywood where he directed a remake of the Asian film The Eye. After a brief foray into comedy (It Boy (“20 ans d’écart”)), the post-apocalyptic universe of Alone gave this huge fan of Alien the chance to work in his favourite genre, science fiction.
When the familiar becomes frightening
Alone opens on what is almost an everyday scene: the morning routine of a teenager, Leïla, rushing to get to school. Everything seems normal, with the exception of one detail: family, friends, and passers-by…the world she knows has been emptied of its inhabitants.
As she wanders, the girl encounters four companions: Dodji, Yvan, Camille and Terry. Each one believes they are the sole survivor of a catastrophe. Yet they are not alone. Enemies are on the prowl, and this small group united by fear soon discovers the reason for the sudden disappearance of most humans.
A necessary betrayal
In cinema, adaptation remains a tricky exercise. Although David Moreau took the time to convince Fabien Vehlmann and Bruno Gazzotti, the two authors of the original comic book Alone, that he should adapt it, he also took some liberties with their story. Dodji, the central figure of the comic, takes second place to the young Leïla, a young heroine who inspires a strong empathy.
This doesn’t bother Fabien Vehlmann, who is fond of saying that "betrayal is inherent to adaptation if you want to avoid making a bad film". An initial attempt to adapt it for television failed in 2008.
Between Spielberg and Lost
The series Alone quickly became a cult tale among readers (1.5 million copies sold to date), a success which it owes it to its universe, essentially drawn from the English-speaking world. Vehlmann and Gazzotti often cite Lord of the Flies, and also the TV series Lost, as sources of inspiration.
David Moreau, for his film version, trained his eye on the 1980s. Alone thus owes as much to a buddy film like Stand by Me as to the playful, sometimes sinister spirit of Steven Spielberg’s cinema. All these references succeeded as much in appealing to English as to Thai audiences when the film was released in cinemas.
Alone (“Seuls", 2016) is distributed internationally by the Institut français.
The Institut français offers a catalogue of over 2,500 titles, enabling the French cultural network and its partners to screen French films around the world.