Is there a more extraordinary auteur career than that of Bruno Dumont? Having started as one of Europe’s foremost purveyors of extreme cinema and extreme seriousness, he made a startling move to wacky broad comedy, and is handling it as if to the manner born. Now he gives us Ma Loute, or Slack Bay, a macabre pastoral entertainment by the seaside from the belle époque: it’s an old-fashioned provincial comedy with something of Clochemerle, a world in which everyone seems to have drunk their bodyweight in absinthe. There’s also the surreal meta-strangeness of Ken Russell’s version of The Boyfriend. Continue reading
A clueless police inspector stumbles his way through a provincial murder investigation, in this shocking — and shockingly funny — change of pace from premier French auteur Bruno Dumont (L’humanité, Hadewijch).
Originally conceived and broadcast as a four-part miniseries, Bruno Dumont’s P’tit Quinquin works seamlessly when screened in its cinematic version.
Dumont has again chosen to shoot his new film against the countryside of his birthplace, the Boulonnais region around Calais; apart from that, the film marks a notable change in tone for this immensely creative filmmaker. (Well, it does share one other thing in common with his earlier films: like L’Humanite, the film centres on a police detective investigating a murder.)
P’tit Quinquin is — believe it or not for those who have been following Dumont’s career — a comedy. Little prepares you for the adventure, rollicking and slapstick, in this idiosyncratic screwball of a film. Chuckles abound — at times you can’t quite believe what you are seeing — but, not surprisingly in the hands of a director who has always managed to keep a firm, controlling hand on his material, the film never spirals into silliness. Wit and intelligence prevail. Continue reading
The sculptor Camille Claudel – sister to the poet and diplomat Paul Claudel, and former lover of the sculptor Auguste Rodin – is sent away by her brother and mother to to be committed in the Montdevergues insane asylum, where she is stripped of her freedom to create and condemned to live among the mentally ill for the rest of her days. The film takes place over a few days as she waits on her newly devout brother Paul to visit her. Starring Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent, Emmanuel Kauffman.
Winter, 1915. Confined by her family to an asylum in the South of France – where she will never sculpt again – the chronicle of Camille Claudel’s reclusive life, as she waits for a visit from her brother, Paul Claudel.
A drifter living in the woods outside a small French coastal town strikes up a unique relationship with a strange young woman. When killings ensue, the local police begin an investigation, but the couple remain apart from everything through a mix of religion, spirituality and complete detachment.
Bruno Dumont’s meticulous and distinctive films encompass a wide cross-section of subjects. He is determined to invest his work with an emotive and humanistic bias, positioned within a strictly composed and compelling visual structure. Also central to his work is his sensitivity to landscape — in the case of Hors Satan, the Côte d’Opale on France’s northwestern Atlantic coast — and to enigmatic characters on the fringes of society. Against his setting, Dumont rigorously sets mode, tone and colour. Continue reading