After a corpse is discovered inside a cow, a screwball police procedural unfolds in a bizarre French village that has fallen prey to evil, while a band of young, mischievous scoundrels watch from the sides.
Weird. Hilarious. Haunting. Bruno Dumont’s miniseries (a Gallic Twin Peaks?) made history as the first TV program to top the Cahiers du Cinéma’s list of best films of the year, and its release in the US was one of the highlights of 2015. Let the binge-viewing begin…
It’s a singular treat: a Twin Peaks-twisted mystery, set in starkest rural France yet executed with the knockabout flair of a Keystone Cops jape… as the bumbling investigation snakes circuitously around a community riddled with eccentrics and malcontents, a peculiarly warm feeling for human failing settles in; antic farce turns out to be as suitable a vessel for Dumont’s spiritual preoccupations as dour allegory, and a good deal more fun.
The fact remains: P’tit Quinquin really is funny, in a sometimes surprisingly broad, knockabout way, while being utterly recognisable as the work of one of Europe’s most intransigently distinctive auteurs.
July 10, 2015
The New York Times
Mr. Dumont has denied ever seeing “Twin Peaks,” but the giggly priest and the hauntingly avant-garde ballad of teenage angst yodeled in phonetic English by the town’s would-be superstar (Lisa Hartmann, who wrote the song herself) are as suggestive of David Lynch’s series as the episode in which two British tourists fail to contain the restaurant antics of their grown, mentally disturbed son is of Lars von Trier’s "The Idiots.
Recognition for the performances of Alane Delhaye (Li'l Quinquin) and Bernard Pruvost (Van der Weyden) needs to be given. The mini-series/film would not work without them.
Don't expect stunning visuals or much in terms of spectacle. That is not the takeaway. Instead, be prepared to dissect and digest whether the evil here is innate to ourselves or seeping in from a poisoned natural world.
This is the reason I come to MUBI. Sure there are crappy movies every once in a while, but then you get something like this that just knocks you over. Thanks MUBI, and you might want to think about more of these type of well made TV shows like 'Les Revanants'.
A mystery today, and it probably will still be a mystery a decade from now. Is the murderer out there, or were the victims simply swallowed up by a deceptively toxic landscape? Don't expect to be handed answers if you're not willing to bring your own, for what we have here, disguised as a whodunit, is a movie about complicity, inaction, and the cop-out of blaming horrific acts on "evil". All that, and it's funny too.
It is distinguished by an uncommon equilibrium between form and content. The entire history of one country is present in the microcosms of one village in today’s Normandy. It includes a range of highly relevant issues, like postcolonial traumas and food chain contamination. A variety of genres is innovatively mixed incorporating a French odd-ball comedy, a rural family saga, surrealism à la Tati and a crime story.
This great, great, great comedy is a tonal high wire act that doesn't ever really falter. Dumont continually achieves a gentle, dim kind of dissonant coloring in each scene. Many are incredibly heterogeneous, built intensely upon networks of colliding sounds and shots, and deceptive arrangements of social mise en scene. At times, I simply had to throw my hands up in disbelief. Here, Dumont fully achieves sublimity.
Carefully curated physiognomy and landscape, signature Dumont. But instead of languidly paced film with sudden bursts of sex or violence, Dumont simply lets it all flow at, for Dumont, a steady pace. Meditations on intimacy, religion, racism, gender, general "global issues," not unusual for the filmmaker, but here, a jam-packed punch with overwrought humor. Unspeakable cinematography. Next level Dumont.