- Anthony Bajon is excellent in a whacky and very well-made second feature from Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma, a rural werewolf film which received the 2020 Cannes label and was awarded at Sitges
They belong to this generation of young and audacious French filmmakers who dare explode genre divisions, mix social realism and fantasy, and carry their stories into peri-urban and rural territories often ignored by cinema. After the well-noticed Willy 1er [+see also:
film profile] (discovered in the 2019 Cannes ACID selection) which they had co-directed with Marielle Gautier and Hugo P. Thomas, the brothers Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma now strike it out on their own and the least we can say, is that they have a lot of nerve and the final result was worth their effort. Testament to their success is the very surprising werewolf of their second feature, Teddy [+see also:
film profile], recipient last year of the Cannes 2020 Official Selection label, winner of the Critics’ Prize at Sitges and at the Cinemed in Montpellier, of the Jury Prize in Gérardmer, and of the Grand Prix of the French competition at the Bordeaux independent cinema festival. The film finally lands in French cinemas on 30 June, distributed by The Jokers.
"I woke up like this. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t feel too good". Teddy (the very good Anthony Bajon) is a rather agitated and slightly provocative young man in the very quiet context of the small suburban city he lives in, at the heart of the countryside. With his short hair and his black t-shirts adorned with dragons, he stands out of his environment, drinking beer and committing a few rebellious petty crimes here and there, all the while leading a “normal” life, working in a massage parlour (supervised by Noémie Lvovsky) and sleeping with his girlfriend. But everything will change during a nighttime excursion in the forest, from which he returns with his back all bloody (“I didn’t see anything, it happened in the dark”). At the same time, policemen find the corpses of sheep in the region. And Teddy’s body begins to go through some strange metamorphoses. He is becoming a lycanthrope and hunting impulses are taking him over. The peaceful town does not yet know what is coming…
Under its “cartoonish” and playful surface, with suspenseful adventures and bloody action scenes related to the protagonist’s gradual awareness of his “monstrous” identity, Teddy of course hides a film on the subject of difference. A theme perfectly explored through the very powerful visual and narrative contrasts set in action by the Boukherma brothers, who paint a very realistic picture of this “France profonde” where social and intellectual poverty reign, and where the absence of any opportunities for the future makes young people go mad. The film therefore can be read on two levels, but it can also simply be enjoyed as a cheerful, funny and sardonic genre film. It is also a feature film that makes us impatiently wait for the next effort from the Boukherma brothers, called L’année du requin and set to be shot this summer.
(Translated from French)
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