Alice (Ariane Labed) is an attractive and sexually voracious sailor in her thirties. She is in love with Feliz (Anders Danielsen Lie), a cartoonist who revels in the brief time they have together before she returns to her work on the cargo ship Fidelio. When the ship's engineer dies, Alice is assigned to take his place. She is diligent in her work and thick-skinned enough to fend off the sex-starved members of the crew. A large contingent of Asian sailors do not give her any trouble. They are very religious and at one point create a blessing ceremony for the ship's engines.
After the engineer is buried at sea, Alice discovers his diary and soon finds herself engrossed in it — especially his observations on his sex life and his experiences on the Fidelio. Although she genuinely misses Felix, she surrenders completely to the ship's captain, Gael (Melvil Poupaud), the love of her life when she was a cadet in school. In the years since, he has married, had a family, and travelled the world but never forgotten her. They begin a passionate sexual adventure that consumes them both.
Asked what she wants out of life, Alice mentions a list of things and Gael concludes her sentence: "You want it all." Yes, that is a yearning which women have not been allowed to share with men. Watching this self-confident woman meet the challenges and dangerous accidents that take place aboard the ship is very satisfying.
Director Lucie Borleteau has fashioned a fascinating portrait of liberated female sailor who floats free of the conventional life. Of course, with such an unfettered existence comes the inevitable disappointment when the men she is sexually intimate with want a committed and exclusive relationship with her. But Alice seems to need to constantly have new erotic and vocational adventures. Ariane Labed puts in an astonishingly vivid performance as the globe-trotting seawoman.
Screened at Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, NY, NY 2015.