‘…Somewhere between Dog Day Afternoon and Speed, Rochant’s Autobus is a rarity, a siege drama with compassion and humanity instead of shoot-outs and action…’

Marking an early role for the luminous Kristin Scott Thomas, writer/director Eric Rochant’s Autobus is a hard-to-find gem of teenage angst; I’ve literally scoured the internet for anything I can show you about this film and come up with less than zip. It’s currently standing on zero critical reviews on  Rotten Tomatoes, and the only review on imdb is mine, the still above came from a German tv listings magazine, and there’s not even a trailer on Youtube or Daily Motion. Is 1991 so far away?

Anyway, sinking into oblivion wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for Autobus, also known as Aux Yeux du Monde, wasn’t such a good film, but right now it’s less underrated than not rated at all. Yvan Attal plays French schoolboy Bruno, whose girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg) doesn’t believe he really loves her. In order to get to her in Spain, Bruno decides to hijack a school-bus with 22 kids on board, as well as a unwilling teacher (Scott-Thomas).

Bruno’s lack of understanding of action and consequence is clearly naïve, but there’s also a degree of sympathy possible for his anti-social actions, and Autobus develops less like a thriller than a spry commentary of the foolishness of youth, with Bruno snapped out of his romantic intensity by his growing relationships with the bus’s occupants.You can catch a couple of minutes of the action in the clip below, sorry for the lack of subtitles.

Somewhere between Dog Day Afternoon and Speed, Rochant’s Autobus is a rarity, a siege drama with compassion and humanity instead of shoot-outs and action. Back in 2004, I nipped down to Knightbridge to interview Scott Thomas over tea and scones in a Bayswater hotel room while she was promoting a fantasy blockbuster, and the conversation turned back making to this excellent film. She had fond memories of it, and so did I; in the digital age, why do great films like this get so neglected?


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  1. You certainly served up a conundrum here. I have finally found you another review but you need to be a Sight and Sound subscriber. The film was reviewed by Verina Glaessner in the July 1992 issue. The film was released in the UK by Artificial Eye and the BBFC reference suggests a ‘home entertainment’ release was also certified, although it is dated September 1992 and doesn’t mention Artificial Eye. The film’s lead Yvan Attal has just turned up as the misogynist boss in La Syndicaliste (France 2022), persecuting Isabelle Huppert.

    • I could probably pull that SoS review from a back-issue, thanks for the tip. I’m prettty sure I saw this from an Artificial Eye VHS at the time. Shame that such films just vanish these days..

  2. Boooooo to barbarianheimlich! Nobody needs that kind of stuff.

    As for this movie. Well, I don’t see what is wrong with kidnapper a bunch of kids if you do it in the Name of Love. In fact, ANYTHING is ok if done in the Name of Love. Robbing space banks, eating people, it’s all ok if you do it for love. In fact, even watching a movie is ok if done in the Name of Love…

    • Offering something different from Barbenheimer, which I haven’t had time to see yet…

        • Yup, and I decided I’d stand back from the fray, since everyone else is diving in. Excited to see both, but not the same day. Will see Barbie on my birthday tomorrow, and Oppenheimer the next time I’ve got a three hour movie about the creation of an atomic bomb in my tank. Meantime, got a bit of housework to do, with 3000+ movies on the site, pics and text get corrupted, so a good time to fix this while everyone is fixated on Barbenheimer…

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