The Wanderings of Ivan (La Balade d’Ivan) – Movie Review

TL;DR The Wanderings of Ivan is a cold look at a real problem shown through the eyes of an excellent performance by Aram Arakelyan

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Warning – Several scenes contain flashing lights.

The Wanderings of Ivan (La Balade d’Ivan). Image Credit: NQV Media.

The Wanderings of Ivan Review

Homelessness is one of those issues that is a larger issue in modern societies, but we tend to push it aside and not think about it. But what happens to a person when they are cut off from having enough to eat when there are not avenues they can use to get out of where they are? Today we look at a film that is exploring this critical issue.

So to set the scene, Ivan (Aram Arakelyan) lives rough on the streets of Paris. To survive, he begs on the street and steals leftovers, but even that is not really enough. He tries to find work or a safe place to sleep but more often than not ends up sleeping rough each night with only a couple of Euros to his name. After a while, he finds a secluded wooded area on the outskirts of the city where he is not the only one without a home.  

The Wanderings of Ivan (La Balade d’Ivan). Image Credit: NQV Media.
It explores the issues of those who live on the margins. Image Credit: NQV Media.

The Wanderings of Ivan is a film that pretty much follows the story of one person, Ivan, and because of that, you need to be able to connect with him. Aram Arakelyan does an excellent job of bringing you into Ivan’s world and the struggles he has faced in the past and those in his present. You do feel for him, and his situation and you hope for the best, even though that is unlikely to happen. It is that connection that hits you the hardest as the film progresses and the situation becomes direr.

Structurally, this is a film that is less a narrative with a strong through lines, but more of a movie where life happens to Ivan, and he reacts to it. So while it has a clear endpoint, it weaves and meanders along on the way to it. As well as this, there are a lot of ephemeral transitions, and sequences that are more about setting a mood than anything else. This means that I am not sure this will be a film that everyone will gel with.  

The Wanderings of Ivan (La Balade d’Ivan). Image Credit: NQV Media.
It is Aram Arakelyan performance of Ivan that draws you in. Image Credit: NQV Media.

Where this film shines is in explore the lives of those that live on the margins and the exploitation people can take of them. We might not like to think this exploitation is happening, but it is, and even in this film, it is a more sanitised version of reality. To survive, those who live in the woods have to steal and service those who have money just to be able to survive. There is also a lot of interplay of the role of masculinity, the effect it has on people, and how it leads to the almost inevitable conclusion.

In the end, do we recommend The Wanderings of Ivan? Yes, yes we would. It is not a film for everyone, but it is a hard look at a real problem shown through the eyes of an excellent performance by Aram Arakelyan. If you liked The Wanderings of Ivan we would also recommend to you I am Jonas.

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched The Wanderings of Ivan?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias, and you can follow us
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Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Wanderings of Ivan
Directed by
– Claude Chamis
Written by – Sylvain Maugens & Claude Chamis
Story by – Sylvain Maugens
Screenplay by – Maurice Blanchot
Music by – François Blanc, François Cyrod & Mathieu Fortin
Cinematography by – Thibaut De Chemellier
Edited by – Samuel Zlatoff
Production/Distribution Companies – Cobalt Films & NQV Media
Starring – Aram Arakelyan, Benjamin Baclet, Camille Freychet, Franck Zerbib, Corine Watrin, Pablo Alarson, Noé Alarson, Yves Balmes-Morgan, Lisbeth Wagner, Tarek Nini, Paul Bettinger, Maylis de Poncins, Stanislas Aurousseau & Judith Journo         
Rating – Around an Australia: MA15+

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