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Wild Life 2014

Wild Life | Vie Sauvage

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The experience of being on the run for eleven years throughout France will forge their identity.

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About the Wild Life 💬

  • Inspired by a true story.

Philippe Fournier (Mathieu Kassovitz), aka Paco, lives with his 6 and 7-year-old sons, having decided not to give them back to their mother after she won custody of the children.

As children and then adolescents, Okyesa and Tsali Fournier must live their lives in the shadows, assuming different identities, hunted by the police but always free and on the move. From attics to farmhouses, caravans to communes, they live in harmony with nature and their animals.

They live with constant danger and fear, but also with the solidarity and bonds formed with friends met on the road, and the joys of living life off the grid.

11 years spent on the run all across France: a journey that would define their identity.


Q: The film starts with the breaking scene: the audience is immediate, abruptly absorbed in the film...

Cédric Kahn: I personally love when the films start without any introduction and when I have to catch up the information throughout the story. If I had wanted to show the parents' story, I would have started with their meeting, the beginnings and the contract of love that is shown in the flash-back. But as it is about the children's story, we chose to begin with the moment when the family explodes. Until that moment, the boys live in a kind of idyllic family. But then everything falls over. Their mother, who can no longer stand this life of sacrifices and destitution suddenly gives up. This is the first shock for the boys who are torn away from their lives, and it will be the factor of all the others. During all those years, violence will take its toll until the final conclusion...

Q: You also show how attractive and fun this run can be for the children...

Cédric Kahn: That's where the whole paradox of this story lies. It is a mixture of wonderful and tragic. Paco, the father in the movie, invents for his sons a splendid fiction in which they are fugitives, heroes, and rebels at once. Indeed, everything can become a game for kids: you hide, you lie, and you let your hair grow to become real Indians (but also not to look too much like the photos of the wanted notices). This wonderful fiction hides the cruel reality for a while: the moments of pain, the fear of the police, and most importantly the lack of their mother and brother. The only point the father remains inflexible about is school. He is so much a stickler for the studies that it is even an obsession.

Q: Your look upon this alternative way of living is always kind and without irony...

Cédric Kahn: My parents left the city in the 70s to live in a community. I grew up in the countryside, amongst people that were exactly like the ones I show in the film: eccentrics, some who had made studies and came from rather intellectual or wealthy environments, like Fortin. This universe has nothing exotic to me. Even though my life is completely opposed to this, I admire those people who chose to live close to nature, following the seasons, in destitution, away from materialist considerations. I don't support what the father makes his sons experience, but I am convinced he is completely honest and motivated by his cause. He is not perverted or cynical. But he obviously wants to impose his convictions on the others around. It is hard for him to compromise.

Q: It is when the conflict of territories with the punks breaks that we understand how the ideal of absolute freedom can also have limits...

Cédric Kahn: This is the turning point of the film when the ideology collapses. All the things which could be seen as paradisiac during childhood become unbearable during the teenage years. The sons don't want this kind of life anymore. They feel mostly trapped in this life as runaways. The film also questions the choices. What do we really choose? When can we consider a child is able to decide for himself? These are fundamental questions of education.

''I discovered this story in 2008 in a report I read in the press and I immediately thought it would be fantastic on screen. It was both a family drama and the opportunity for me to direct an adventure film, with escape, by osmosis with nature.''

Cédric Kahn

Wild Life Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Cédric Kahn

Writing Credits

Cédric Kahn and Nathalie Najem (Screenplay)

Laurence Vidal, Okwari Fortin, Shahi'Yena Fortin and Xavier Fortin (Book)


Mathieu Kassovitz

Céline Sallette

David Gastou

Romain Depret

Sofiane Neveu

Jules Ritmanic

Jenna Thiam

Tara-Jay Bangalter

Amandine Dugas

Michaël Dichter

Brigitte Sy

Olivier Granier

Dominique Bes

Julien Thiou

Judith Simon

Emilia Derou-Bernal

Music by

Mathias Duplessy

Cinematography by

Yves Cape

Genres: Drama

Countries: Belgium, France

Wild Life Official Trailer

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