Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Starring what appear to be a cast of actual geese, Spread Your Wings is an enjoyable envirofriendly, fact-based family film from France about has-been scientist Christian (Jean-Paul Rouve)who gets his estranged son Thomas (Louis Vazquez) involved in a scheme to save a species of
geese from extinction.
With their migration path disrupted by industrial structures, light pollution, hunters and air
traffic, Christian plans to employ imprinting techniques so that his gaggle of endangered baby
geese will grow up thinking he and Thomas are their parents.
They will then take to the air in ultra-light aircraft with the grown geese in train and so teach
them a new migration route across Europe.
With one eye firmly fixed on the scenic splendour of the adventure –the fjords of Norway look
every bit as good as they sound – director Nicolas Vanier (Belle & Sebastian) wisely keeps the
airborne story dramatically grounded.
The project offers Christian an opportunity to reconnect with his son, who spends most of his
time gaming and is distressed at the lack of wifi in the country. He wrestles over his relationship
status with ex-wife Paola (Mélanie Doutey) and also has to face the consequences of sidestepping protocol after ticking off some very reasonable officials. Kudos to Vanier for not
resorting to stereotypes here.
Still, the birds are the real stars, embodying the film’s unforced message that the support
required to save an entire species can be quite modest, provided there is will enough to actually
care. And, just to be clear, the geese in the film are real. No CGI or digital magic involved.
The film’s brilliant, Oscar-nominated cinematography was by veteran Caleb Deschanel.