Synopsis by Mark Deming
Stephane Bouquet was born in France in 1967, the son of a single mother whose boyfriend, an American soldier, was one of 26,000 U.S. troops once stationed in France who left the country that year under the order of French president Charles de Gaulle. Bouquet's father did not know his girlfriend was pregnant when he shipped out, and a few years later, when she attempted to contact him, she discovered his old address was no longer valid. Bouquet grew up with a certain natural curiosity about his father, and at the urging of his close friend Sebastien Lifshitz, a filmmaker, a thirty-something Bouquet flew to America and began a complicated search for a man he'd never seen and wasn't entirely sure he wanted to meet. Lifshitz tagged along to document Bouquet's search, and La Traverse captures his mixed feelings about his search, his absent father, and life on the road in the United States. La Traverse was shown at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, as part of the Directors' Fortnight series.