Director: Christian Duguay
Writer: Guillaume Canet
At the start of the 1980s, Pierre Durand abandoned a promising legal career
and threw himself into his true passion, showjumping. With his father’s
backing, he gambled everything on a young horse who no one else had any
faith in: Jappeloup.
Too small , too stubborn, too impetuous, he had many
faults, but nonetheless had a remarkable jumping ability. From competition
to competition, the pair improved and began to make their mark on the
showjumping world. But the Los Angeles Olympic Games were a disaster
for them, and Pierre had to face up to his shortcomings. With the help of his
wife Nadia and groom Raphaëlle, Pierre regained Jappeloup’s confidence
and built a relationship that took them to victory in the Seoul Olympics in
Jappeloup, who was only 15.2hh, is now considered one of the greatest showjumping horses of all time. He was from unlikely breeding – by the French Trotter stallion Tyrol II and out of the thoroughbred mare Vénérable (by Oural).
He threw Durand into a jump at the 1984 Olympics, his bridle coming off in the process, and Jappeloup galloped back to his stable. ” The story could very well have ended there with public humiliation in a global arena.”
Pierre Durand and Jappeluop at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. © FEI
Durand eventually started afresh, reconciled with Jappeloup and they triumphed four years later in Seoul to become Olympic champions.
The screenplay was written by actor Guillaume Canet – a top showjumper as a junior – and he plays the part of Pierre Durand. Veteran actor Daniel Auteuil plays Durand’s father, Serge. Among the minor roles are Donald Sutherland plays John Lester, and Noah Huntley has the part of Joe Fargis, who won Olympic gold on Touch of Class in 1984.
The film was shot primarily on the Spanish island of Mallorca, as well as France and Germany.
When Jappeloup and Durand won at Seoul, Durand tied the gold medal onto Jappeloup’s martingale for their victory lap.
Jappeloup’s retirement ceremony was held at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but only three years later, he died at the age of 16 of a heart attack.
In 1993, a documentary film was made by Christian Chevreuse on the life of Jappeloup and his career with Pierre Durand.
You can find more info and interviews with the Director/Producer/Screen Writer, HERE