Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:53 pm 
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The man who mistook himself for an old leather jacket

Eric Kohn of IndieWire describes this "slim doodle of a movie" whose "outré premise" would "have worked better as a short" as "a 78-minute stunt with one appealing hook: Jean Dujardin, hilarious and unhinged, as a psychopath so infatuated with his new jacket that he decides it should be the only one in the world." Last year the Rendez-Vous included his Keep an Eye Out/Au poste! and 2015 R-V had Reality. He has a lot of them, and now has a wide festival and international audience. Ultmately however Depieux is a thing of the cultist.

Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars in this, for Depieux, typically bizarre and surreal take on the midlife crisis movie (with Western glances) in which Georges (Dujardin) drops several thousand Euros on an Easy Rider–style, 100%-deerskin jacket retrieved from the bottom of a trunk, then absconds to a country inn in a sleepy town far away from his wife. There, he starts experimenting with a mini-DV camcorder, enlisting the help of an aspiring film editor (Portrait of Lady on Fire’s Adèle Haenel) to assemble a most unusual docufiction—for which a certain garment comes to act as an unconventional muse. "Dupieux’s romp—in which ATM withdrawal freezes, parka confiscations, and a repurposed ceiling fan all play unforgettable roles—opened last year’s Director’s Fortnight at Cannes," says the blurb for this Greenwich Entertainment release.

However, one may side with's Thomas Lequeu in concluding that this film, which plays around with looks into mirrors a lot, is itself too self regarding. For fans of the terminally twee who are indifferent to the underlying cruelty of Depieux's work. Here, Georges - who is a psychopath, yes, but also a con man and a fool - is eventually making snuff films and the final one (spoiler alert) is his own. Haemel's character also is incompehensible, because she is quick witted one minute and idiotic the next. Depieux's films are parlor games carried out with maniacal dedication. They are ideal for midnight screenings. At the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, this one was a late show, which is only at nine p.m. because the schedule is kind to the older clientele (largely absent for this) and to the employees of the Walter Reade Theater.

The part that appealed to me is the sense of someone being off entirely into his own world and happy in it, and the repeated hints of Western genre elements.

Deerskin/Le daim, 77 mins, debuted at Cannes Directors Fortnight May 2019 and theatrically in France Jun.; the AlloCine press rating was 3.8 (76%), but AlloCiné's spectators' collective score is a mediocre 3.0 (60%).

Sunday, March 8, 9:15pm
Saturday, March 14, 9:00pm

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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