Bruno Dumont built his reputation around the artsiest of arthouse movies, the kind of efforts that were mainstays of the festival circuit, but drew only the most devoted of cinephiles when they eventually went into limited release. Lately, while he hasn’t quite gone mainstream, the filmmaker has courted broader appeal. His TV series “P’tit Quinquin” was a hit, and showed he could capture a bigger audience with something more broadly entertaining (a second season is on the way), and he’s stayed in that vein with his latest feature, “Slack Bay.”
While Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi get top billing, the story actually revolves around Brandon Lavieville and Raph (yep, just one name), a young couple from vastly different backgrounds, who start falling in love, all while the police chase an elusive murderer. Here’s the official synopsis:
The bourgeois and extremely eccentric Van Peteghem family—among them Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi—have settled in for another summer at their cliff-top villa overlooking the picturesque Slack Bay. Their leisurely rhythm of sunbathing and seaside constitutionals is soon interrupted by the arrival of two bumbling inspectors investigating a string of tourists gone missing (and serving full-on Keystone Kops). As the macabre mysteries mount and love blossoms between the family’s genderqueer teen and the son of a local fisherman, Binoche and company ratchet the slapstick up to eleven. It’s no wonder director Bruno Dumont (Li’l Quinquin, Camille Claudel 1915) cites Peter Sellers, Monty Python, and Laurel and Hardy as cinematic influences for his delightful foray into winking, absurdist farce.
“Slack Bay” opens on April 21st.