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La Balade d'Ivan

The Wanderings of Ivan

France 2018
produced by
Sylvain Maugens for Cobalt Films
directed by Claude Chamis
starring Aram Arakelyan, Benjamin Baclet, Franck Zerbib, Camille Freychet, Corine Watrin, Pablo Alarson, Yves Balmes-Morgan, Paul Bettinger, Maylis de Poncins, Lisbeth Wagner, Noé Alarson, Judith Journo, Stanislas Aurousseau, Christos Grosdanis, Tarek Nini, Martin Thiaw
idea by Sylvain Maugens, screenplay by Claude Chamis, Sylvain Maugens, music by Mathieu Fortin, François Blanc, François Cyrod

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Ivan (Aram Arakelyan), a vagrant from Russia, wanders the streets of Paris with no money and nothing on him but his backpack, and finds the city increasingly hostile to the likes of his. So he makes off to the woods of Vincennes, where he can sleep under the stars and let nature do the rest - only it doesn't work that way, even in the woods he's dependent on begging for money or food, and sometimes even stealing it. Eventually, he meets Ben (Benjamin Baclet), a young rentboy turning tricks in the woods, who takes him a like-minded guy, and when Ivan assures him nothing could be further from the truth, Ben and the other hustlers still think he's stealing their clientele. Eventually, Ivan has sex with an older woman (Corine Watrin) at a nearby pagoda, and she insists on paying him - and his pure need wins out over his pride and he accepts, basically letting her prostitute him. Soon afterwards, Ivan meets Pierre (Franck Zerbib), a man who shows obvious interest in him, even if Ivan turns him down. Pierre shows up again and again though, for things eventually coming to a head as a consequence ...


La Balade d'Ivan is a quite unique movie as while its story very much suggests a social drama, the film's very poetic, almost lyrical approach makes it feel like something else, a rather beautiful if sometimes pretty nasty moodpiece, thanks to a wonderful scenery, camerawork able to catch the beauty of it without going all-out kitsch, and a slow but steady flow of events that keeps the audience invested in the story without taking away from the atmosphere, while a voiceover from Ivan's diary from his days back in Russia serves as a wonderful counterpoint to the on-screen goings-on. And very natural and subtle performances only help make this one a rather beautiful film.


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD