Alice is a 30 year-old sailor, in love with Félix who waits for her ashore as she unexpectedly sets off as second mechanic on the Fidelio, an old freighter. On board, she discovers not only that she replaces a recently deceased mechanic, but also that the Captain is none other than her first great love, Gaël. In her cabin Alice comes across the diary of the former mechanic, and by reading its content –accounts of technical problems, sexual conquests and lovelorn emotions – she finds, oddly, that they echo her own journey. As the ship calls at various ports, Alice deals with life aboard with an all-male crew, the notion of desire in such an environment and the swings of her romantic feelings, while trying to stay the course.
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'Fidelio, Alice's Journey' takes and unfamiliar look into a familiar seeming world by following the ups and downs of a female mechanic/engineer who gets a job in the engine room of the ship she first trained in. The novelty of the situation alone makes the film worth watching, but having the twinkle-in-her-eye actress Ariane Labed play Alice definitely adds to the film's appeal, especially as a significant part of the film is taken up with the sexual and emotional experiences that she has as we follow her journey on the Fidelio. The very fact that the film is largely set on a cargo ship means that the film is not fast paced nor has a wide ranging scope, but the way that the human relationships which exist within the enclosed environment of a container ship's crew are explored and presented make it a worthwhile watch. Ariane Labed pulls off her leading role with ease and is someone who will sparkle for many films to come.
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