After helming some of the most austere, polarising films in French arthouse cinema, writer-director Bruno Dumont made a surprise swerve into the world of TV in 2014 with P’tit Quinquin, a miniseries that premiered at Cannes in a (still long) film version later released in UK cinemas.
A blackly comic murder mystery, the show starts off as a macabre riff on police procedurals like Midsomer Murders, crossed with kids-up-to-mischief comedies like The Little Rascals, as Van Der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost), a bumbling detective and his deputy, Carpentier (Philippe Jore), try to solve a series of grisly deaths while a group of youths, led by the eponymous Quinquin (Alane Delhaye), watch. What is gradually revealed about the rural southern France setting is the deep prejudices of its residents, particularly towards Arab or African Muslim immigrants, some of whom end up being murder victims. Even the initially ‘good’ leads, the arguable points of identification for the audience, turn out to be belligerent bigots.
Given all of the above, you may be wondering why the sequel miniseries, Coincoin and the Extra-Humans, set years later, is being covered by a genre magazine. One word: aliens…
Full review for SciFiNow
Though only a few of his films have received UK distribution (see 2009’s The Portuguese Nun), US-born, France-based director Eugène Green has accrued a significant arthouse fanbase across the world, via a steady run of eccentric dramas, each driven by a rigid commitment to Baroque theatre techniques. No one behaves quite like a human being in his filmography, but their humanity shines through the mannered delivery.
Although still reliant on that same performance style, Green’s more overtly comedic new film, The Son of Joseph, offers a considerably more accessible, playful distillation of his filmmaking. It’s a beguiling riff on the Nativity story, as a young boy (Victor Ezenfis) becomes determined to uncover the identity of his absent father. His search leads to Mathieu Amalric’s brash publisher, who offers limited appeal when it comes to being a proposed patriarch. As such, Vincent’s attentions gravitate towards the publisher’s brother (Fabrizio Rongione) as a more suitable substitute, only for a funny farce of misplaced paternity to ensue from there.
With the film released in UK cinemas this Friday, ahead of a Christmas Day streaming debut on MUBI UK, we chat with Green about his direction of actors and collaborating with producers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne…
Full interview for VODzilla.co
The contemporary king of grim French cinema, director Bruno Dumont’s latest, the stark Camille Claudel 1915, is based on personal letters and medical records regarding the lengthy institutionalisation of Camille Claudel (Binoche), the former sculptor who developed schizophrenia…
Full review for The Skinny