“There are radicalized Muslims in my living room.” Jean-Charles Clichet is a dumpy jogger who convinces a prostitute to sleep with him for free, and also delicately balances helping out a homeless kid with trying to get him arrested. Clichet’s secret power: he’s a Linux Guy. Not as warmhearted as Le Havre, but it’s another French movie about community circling around an immigrant visitor, feeling somewhat like a state-of-the-nation film – with wonderful and bizarre moments, as would be expected from the follow-up to Staying Vertical.
The followcam gets shaky, but not the worst I’ve seen, and I stopped noticing it as the movie got stranger. Leo, a dude with serious eyebrows who is supposed to be writing a screenplay, is instead wandering some roads and fields, failing to pick up a young guy named Yoan, then succeeding in picking up a female sheepherd – and his success is signaled by a completely unexpected cut from them talking about moving in together to a close-up birthing scene.
Leo (Damien Bonnard – I think he drowned in Dunkirk) continues to hit on the dude Yoan, who lives with the muuuch older Marcel (Christian Bouillette, in movies since 1970). And one day Leo’s girl (India Hair of Camille Rewinds) leaves forever, and Leo is stuck living with their baby and her Bluto-looking dad (Raphaël Thierry). Bluto doesn’t take this well, steals the baby and tries to leave it outside for the wolves. And Leo goes on some Ornithologist-like journey along a river to visit a new-agey friend – I didn’t really follow this part.
Soon the movie loses its marbles: everyone is attracted to Leo, his girl is shacked up with Yoan, a panicked Leo flees into the river to escape his movie’s producers, he is beaten and stripped by a homeless gang, and finally Leo makes local headlines for having sex with Old Man Marcel while assisting his suicide. A flash-forward shows everyone living semi-normally, but the movie leaves us with Leo and Bluto surrounded by wolves.
Whatever it all meant, it’s a huge step up from Stranger by the Lake, and all the partner-swapping and unusual desires and wolf-lust felt fresh and enticing. Some scenes were too dark to be legible on my TV. The 13th I’ve seen of the 21 films in Cannes competition last year, and like Paterson and Slack Bay it never played theaters here.
A semi-thriller, methodically structured with a non-ending, set at a cruisy gay nude beach. I didn’t love it as much as the Cinema Scope critics did.
Our shiftless hero is Frank, who spends an awful lot of time at the lake. Frank befriends Henri, a not-nude not-gay not-fit dude sitting off by himself every day, and looks for love among the others. Early on, Frank witnesses mustached Michel kill his boyfriend, spends the rest of the movie dating Michel and avoiding the local cops. Michel kills Henri and chases Frank at the end – you wonder if Frank got away, but you wonder if he wants to.
No music! Produced by Sylvie Pialat (wife of Maurice), picked up a couple of Cannes awards, film of the year according to Cahiers.