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Cannes 2014. Jean-Charles Hue's "Eat Your Bones"

In the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs a car racing crime film set in the Yeniche community of the French countryside.

Dusty French travelers, super-charged cars, evangelical sermons, argot like percussive machine gun burst: Jean-­Charles Hue's Eat Your Bones, countryside morality play and genre film, in the nouvelle digital à la Claire Denis' Bastards. The color palette is sun-­blanched yellow by day—slathering the topless, weightlifting male bodies hanging around the Yeniche camp within which the sermonizing Christians have set up their tent—and xenon­-glaring headlight yellow by night, canted angles, camera crammed in racing cars, echoes of Michael Mann on the cheap. The bodies and lingo are that of non-professionals, the same Hue used in his previous film La BM du Seigneur (2011), real Yeniche, real brothers, with thick, fulsome bodies and piercingly naive faces, words said forcefully and repeated because the actors want to get the lines right, and when they aim they fire like a shotgun, one blast, many bullets. A brother returns from jail and his younger sibling—slim, small, young, different from the rest—is taken on a nighttime joy ride, a nocturnal gauntlet during which he must choose to take his veteran brother's path of crime or embrace the baptism of the evangelicals. A bit simple, yes, and perhaps somewhat posturing, using, with respectful collaboration, the aura of the Yeniche to power and to a degree mythologize and estrange a straight-forward genre path. Still, the images often arrest, vividly, and these young men impress, their presence as potent as that of the elder's beloved Alpina racer, its guttural, revving engine, the dingy, archaeological underground garage they find it in, the weights, the bare chests, the cropped hair, blinking eyes, spat accusations, the flying-by pleasure of road speed. Not perfect, but certainly a dusky gem of a film.

perfect or not a riveting watch

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