La Dérive

France 1963, Feature film, 93' | Director, Screenplay Paula Delsol | DoP Jean Malège | Editor Agnès Guillemot | Sound Paul Boistelle | Music Robert Bène, Christian Donnadieu | Cast Jacqueline Vendal, Lucien Barjon, André Nader, Paulette Dubost, Noelle Noblecourt, Pierre Barouh, Jean-François Calvé | Production cinématographique du Languedoc | Contact Paula Delsol

"La dérive" means driftwood, and the hero of this film moves a bit like driftwood through the coastal landscape of Provence. Jacquie is very easygoing. She has huge eyes, with black make-up, semi-long curly hair and wears tight-cut jeans, a men's shirt and worn out ballet shoes. She is about 20 years old, and ran away from home two years ago to travel around with Pierre, a street musician. After he disappears during a train journey, she hitch-hikes back to her mother and sister in the small coastal town of Palaves-les-Flots. Jacquie is waiting for the love of her life, but does not turn her nose up at the many small loves by the wayside. She is driven by a strong sense of yearning, which gives her new hope after each disappointment. As a modern yet naive beauty, she doesn’t worry about decency and morals, which makes her an outsider in her home village.

The life of the main protagonist in La dérive is a revolt against social conventions. La dérive always takes the side of its protagonist, hungry for love and for life. In her debut film which caused a scandal on its premiere in Paris in 1964, Paula Delsol documents in poetic images the failings of a young woman. Pierre Barouh, a popular musician in the 60s in France, who has a short guest appearance in La dérive as Pierre the street musician; became well-known internationally, especially for the title song in Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman (1966).


French director Paula Delsol, born in 1923, grew up in Hanoi and only returned to France when she was 20. In the 50s she began to write. Paula Delsol, at times also known as Paule Delsol, was self-taught as a filmmaker, and at first she made super-8 films. For the film Les Mistons [The Mischief Makers] (1957) she worked as assistant director to François Truffaut. After her directing debut La dérive, she made just one more cinema film, Ben et Bénédict (1977). She also worked for television and devoted herself again to literature.

Paula Delsol
Feature Film
Focus: Freedom