SLACK BAY / Ma Loute
West Coast Premiere • Comedy, Drama • France, 2016
DCP • 2.35 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 122 min
Directed by: Bruno Dumont
Written by: Bruno Dumont
Cinematography: Guillaume Deffontaines
Film Editing: Basile Belkhiri, Bruno Dumont
Produced by: Rachid Bouchareb, Jean Bréhat, Muriel Merlin (3B Productions), Arte France Cinéma
Cast: Fabrice Luchini (André Van Peteghem), Juliette Binoche (Aude Van Peteghem), Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Isabelle Van Peteghem), Jean-Luc Vincent (Christian Van Peteghem), Brandon Lavieville (Ma Loute Brufort), Raph (Billie Van Peteghem)
International Sales: Memento Films International
U.S. Distributor: Kino Lorber
Nominated for a 2016 Palme d’Or and Best Film César, this savage yet oddly charming comedy of manners satirizes France’s class divide, giving Fabrice Luchini and Juliette Binoche a safe space to set new personal bests for O.T.T. zaniness. The scene: tourist season in Northern France’s crystalline Côte d’Opale in 1910, where windswept beaches are transformed into a promenade of petticoats and parasols. The crime: several well-heeled tourists have gone missing, wreaking havoc with social calendars across the bay, not to mention stumping detectives Laurel and Hardy, er, Machin and Malfoy. The brilliant deduction: the culprit has developed a taste for the rich. The suspects: the Bréfort brood, a family of roughneck locals scrounging tidepool mussels for a living. The ridiculous: the Van Peteghem clan, a menagerie of eccentric uppercrusters summering in Typhonium, their tomblike faux-Egyptian manor on the hill. The sublime: young Billie Van Peteghem, whose gender identity ebbs and flows, has taken an ill-advised shine to Bréfort spawn and resident tidewater scum, Ma Loute.
The first time that writer/director Bruno Dumont made a film about an incompetent detective hunting a killer in Northern France was in 1999, when his controversial Humanité won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes. That film bore all the hallmarks of his early work: grim, minimalistic, non-professional casts, and low budgets. Like his Prix Jean-Vigo winning first feature, The Life of Jesus (COLCOA 1998), most of Dumont’s films are set in northern France, where he taught philosophy before becoming a filmmaker. This harshly beautiful environment is the thread that binds much of Dumont’s otherwise eclectic oeuvre. In 2006, Dumont’s examination of the atrocities of war, Flanders (COLCOA 2007), earned a second Jury Grand Prize at Cannes. Ever the contrarian, Dumont sidestepped, criticizing modern religion with Hadewijch (2009) and Outside Satan (2011), before taking on a costume drama Camille Claudel 1915 (2013), his first film with a professional actor, Juliette Binoche. Dumont’s current fascination, comedy, began with his Arté mini-series Li'l Quinquin (2014).