Sunday, January 26, 2014

Parpaillon - A Delicious French Film

A clip from Parpaillon.
Picture a lady cyclist, dazed, in the middle of the road, hugging a bruised knee. 6 cyclists come along, fall in a heap. The guys dust themselves off and get back on their bikes, weaving around the fallen lady, oblivious to her predicament. But chivalry isn't quite dead. A solitary cyclist eventually comes to her rescue. He throws his bike down and rushes to her side.

Entrance to Col du Parpaillon tunnel. Photo credit: Wikipedia
This is one episode in Parpaillon, a 1993 film by French director Luc Moullet, that chronicles an exhausting cycling race up graveled Col du Parpaillon, a pass in the French High Alps. There are delicious scenes, highlighting joie de vivre. Characters include: older guys dressed in tweed, kitted packs, single women, a couple who are unabashedly in love and are exuberant when they spy a dark tunnel, and a guy who cheats, aided by a vehicle and another who is pampered by his wife—at least I think it's his wife (read on to see why). Several riders become fed up with their bicycles and discard components and water bottles in a particularly humorous manner.

The film captivated me from start to finish. It had to—I watched all hour and twenty minutes in French (it is without subtitles) on Vimeo. I can only imagine how much more delightful it would be if I understood the language.


  1. I was disappointed with the ending, but did enjoy the beautiful scenery and colorful characters. Too bad it didn't have subtitles.

  2. We're in the process of watching this now. We should finish it tonight. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Hi Randy. I'l be interested in your take on this film since you enjoy bicycle flicks about as much as I do.


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