The stirring true story of French show jumper Pierre Durand, his amazing little black gelding Jappeloup and their long ride to the Seoul Olympics. So expertly told it will have Kiwi audiences cheering for the French equestrian.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
Jappeloup depicts the true story of French equestrian show jumper Pierre Durand and his horse, Jappeloup. This young horse was widely deemed by many to be too small, too stubborn and too impetuous to compete at world class events. Others were convinced that the problem lay with the rider. And yet this improbable duo of former lawyer Durand and young Jappeloup became one of the fiercest competitive jumping teams at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
Jappeloup is one of those underdog tales of competitive sport guaranteed to reach an unbearable head of suspense in the final reel, but it does not take a familiar road to get there. Racing at disconcerting speed through the childhood and adolescence of Durand (Guillaume Canet, who also wrote the film), it hits a steady pace at the point where he abandons a promising law career to return to the family business. He claims he’s doing it to please his father (Daniel Auteuil), but we’re not so sure that’s the case.
Maybe Durand needs to find himself before he can find his way as a competitive show jumper: this is a belated coming-of-age tale for the prickly young rider. Handsomely mounted and crafted with care, the film more than lives up to those final reel expectations. Be prepared to bite your knuckles.
“Capturing the various training and tournament scenes in superbly framed widescreen [director]
Christian Duguay shows a seasoned hand in depicting the rarefied art of professional show jumping, and Canet certainly impresses by pulling off many of the horse stunts on his own… Daniel Auteuil is most memorable as the jockey’s warm and understanding dad.” — Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
Film Sponsored by KLM