Here is a nice film of children’s adventures to which the French-speaking Belgian cinema has not often accustomed us. Deliciously retro, SpaceBoy features Jim (Basile Grunberger), an 11-year-old boy with a scientific and dreamy temperament. Like his father, Graham Gouldman (Yannick Renier), a renowned astrophysicist approached for an upcoming manned space flight.
When the father and his son leave the city to settle in a lost village, near the observatory where Graham has found a job, Jim must find his place at school. The science teacher helps him by putting him in tandem with Emma (Albane Masson) on the competition for young scientists. Their idea? Reproduce the Excelsior project which, in 1960, allowed Joseph Kittinger, Jim’s idol, to break the world record for parachute jumping, by soaring from more than 31 km altitude, at the limit of the stratosphere. The two kids go to work with enthusiasm to build their ball, even if they attract the wrath of two of their comrades …
Olivier Pairoux and Eusébio Larrea. These two have not left each other since the early 2000s. Together, in 2004, they created Plug TV (renamed Plug RTL in 2008), the young channel of the RTL group, whose very creative design has been rewarded many times. . After a first short film two years ago, Puzzle with singer Katerine as a super-villain lost in space (including the little robot Cosmo here), the tandem co-wrote the screenplay for Pairoux’s first feature film.
A real artistic direction
The strong point of SpaceBoy is due to his impeccable artistic direction, to this ability to create a real poetic visual universe, especially in the creation of intriguing sets (thanks to cool special effects) and real staging ideas. All in the service of a sincere homage to Hollywood cinema of the 1980s. Olivier Pairoux grew up with Spielberg productions (from HEY of Goonies) and movies like Support me, which totally shaped his mental universe. So, if the landscape is that of Belgium, the first and last names are American, the characters use English words, drive in a pick-up, the children have lockers at school and take part in scientific competitions… So many references shared cinematic that give the film a familiar strangeness.
Supported by two talented young actors, Basile Grunberger (nominated for the Magritte for best hope for Our battles by Guillaume Senez) and Albane Masson (seen in Remi without family and Boule and Bill 2), SpaceBoy is a real learning film, which approached serious subjects, such as illness, lies or mourning, with lightness. Either a wellness film attaching to the end of childhood and innocence. It is no coincidence that the film takes place in 1986, at the time of the mid-flight explosion of the American shuttle Challenger. Like the end of a world where everything seemed simple and the start of a new, much more troubled period. A perfect symbol of the transition from childhood to adolescence …
SpaceBoy Adventure movie By Olivier Pairoux Screenplay Olivier Pairoux & Eusebio Larrea Photography Thomas Rentier Music Les Pénélopes Editing Maarten Janssens With Basile Grunberger, Albane Masson, Yannick Renier, Bérénice Baoo, Jean-Benoît Ugeux, Peter Van Den Begin… Duration 1h37.