top of page


April Skies

average rating is 4 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Oct 11, 2022

Film Reviews
April Skies
Directed by:
Pascal Payant
Written by:
Pascal Payant
Svandis Dora Einarsdottir, Sara Hagno, Pauline Nyrls

In a brilliantly inventive and explorative film that crosses a continent, Pascal Payant’s April Skies mixes styles and genres to tell three, intertwining stories that address pain, loss, grief and reconciliation.


The film follows gravely-ill Parisian Zoe (Pauline Nyrls), recently bereaved Icelander Lara (Svandis Dora Einarsdottir) and severely depressed Swedish singing superstar Liv (Sara Hagno) who are all wrestling with difficult recent news. As each tackle confusing, challenging and tormenting elements of their grief, their seemingly disparate lives are slowly revealed to be interlinked – as one pivotal event ricochets across Europe.


April Skies is both experimental and tightly woven. Payant’s film covers three stories which take place in separate European cities, and brilliantly mixes the storytelling and design of each one to match cinema from the same locale. Zoe’s story in Paris features tropes of classic French cinema – with regular fourth-wall breaking from its two characters and exploration of a nihilistic outlook in the face of death. Meanwhile Lara and Liv’s stories have a distinct Scandi-style, with bleak grey skylines the backdrop for arguments with ghosts of the past. Mixing the storytelling makes each character’s journey feel distinct, and distinguishes events that occur across separate locales and timelines. There are some rare moments where it does not serve the story – Zoe’s conversations with the audience can feel jarring after long spells within the other plotlines – but for the majority of the film, Payant’s experimental approach is a success.


The stories themselves are intimate, believable and personal. Zoe’s frustration with her friend Estelle (Sophie Mousel) and her attempts at cheering her up touches on the complexity and guilt that comes with the burden of a life-altering illness. Lara’s anger at her recently departed father for his absence in her life, and his post-death attempts to connect with her are driven by the truth that the departed are not always perfect – and those hurt by them don’t always find it easy to forgive their faults in life. And Liv’s journey from depression, through self-pity, and finally strength in addressing her regrets at how she treated her former manager show what death can teach those left behind. By portraying various different stages of grief and responses to loss, the film manages to address a range of themes that will leave the audience both reflective, and with a therapeutical sense upon viewing.


There are a few hiccups – some of the linkages between the stories can be seen a mile off, and certain actions of characters seem to run contrary to revelations audiences have already been parlay to. These are ultimately minor faults which don’t undermine the bigger picture of the story, or the thematic exploration that the director undertakes.


Add in a unanimously fantastic cast, stunning visuals and inventive camerawork and production, and April Skies is a worthy, original watch. If its creative mixing of European cinema-styles is not enough to engage its viewers, an engaging, multi-faceted plot surely will.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Theatrical Release, Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film, World Cinema
bottom of page