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Saturday, 27 October 2012

All Men are Called Robert (2010)

Director: Marc-Henri Boulier
Stars: Gwenaël Przydatek, Jean-Françoise Picotïn, Thomas Baelde and Alexis Samailovitch
This film was an official selection at Phoenix FearCon V in Scottsdale in 2012. Here's an index to my festival reviews.
A man runs through the forest. He's buck naked, as is made patently obvious from the frequent full frontal shots. He's covered in dirt, which looks worn into his skin. And a woman is calling him by name, calling for his help. He runs towards her at speed, but he also runs away from the men with shotguns too, as we're apparently in some sort of Most Dangerous Game territory. It's very realistic, the actor playing Robert doing a heck of a lot more naked than I'd ever want to do. He's Gwenaël Przydatek, which I wouldn't want to attempt to pronounce, and he throws himself into this film as if his life depended on it, which to Robert it certainly does. He hightails it through the forest as if he wasn't barefoot, he ducks from shots coming his way and he even drags himself through the grass, face down. I hope he didn't hurt himself making this film, but his efforts are much appreciated because they add a great deal to its success.

I can't say much more about the plot, because there's only four minutes of footage and the twist comes three minutes into that. It deserves to not be spoiled, but it's very nicely done indeed. It's a concept that I've seen before, one that's easy to describe and draft out on paper but difficult to do right, and it has to be done right if it's going to be done at all. It would have been so easy for writer/director Marc-Henri Boulier to get this horribly wrong, as for instance, Y Sci Fi did, just to name one short that aimed at the same concept and missed by miles. That film struggled under the weight of its own propaganda, like an albatross around the filmmaker's shoulders. This one has no need to struggle. The approach Boulier took, with its lack of dialogue, successfully avoids any charge of propaganda, even though it has the exact same message. It's a brave French film that deservedly added the audience award at FearCon V to its already hefty tally of laurels.

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