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La meute

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La meute

(The Pack)

North american Premiere

  • France / Belgium2010
  • 90 min
  • 35mm
  • French with English subtitles
Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2010



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Director: Franck Richard
Screenplay: Franck Richard
Cast: Émilie Dequenne, Yolande Moreau, Éric Godon, Philippe Nahon, Benjamin Boilay
Producers: Vérane Frédiani, Christophe Louis, Franck Ribière
Print Source: Films Distribution

Screens with...

Tous les hommes s'appellent Robert   

Tous les hommes s'appellent Robert

All Men Are Called Robert
World Premiere
2010 | 6 min
French language



Dark country roads, on which the only people you come across are those you’d rather not, don’t faze Charlotte (Émilie Dequenne), a young female traveler. She’s tough as nails and fears nothing. Following a tangle with a bunch of uncouth bikers, she meets Max, a hitchhiker, who might not inspire great trust but at least provides Charlotte with a little company. The wandering pair stop off at La Spack, a rundown roadside eatery run by a sturdy country woman (Yolande Moreau), after whom the restaurant is named. The break doesn’t afford Charlotte much rest, as the surly biker gang reappears, only to be chased off by the proprietor, and moments later, Max vanishes after heading to the bathroom. Convinced that her new acquaintance hasn’t simply up and left her, Charlotte elects to investigate, returning at nightfall to the spot where he disappeared. Charlotte soon enough finds herself bound and caged, a prisoner of La Spack, who sees her as the next meal for her brood, a pack of monstrous cannibal ghouls!

When the Cannes film festival committee announced its plans for an outdoor screening of LA MEUTE, the city’s directors quickly cancelled the event, fearful of shocking more sensitive souls. While it certainly has its share of messy, morbid moments, the debut film by Franck Richard doesn’t focus exclusively on violence, but rather devotes itself to evoking a dirty, sickly sensibility. We won’t pretend that the synopsis above doesn’t carry a strong hint of déja-vu, but Richard is in fact toying with the familiarity of the tale to set a trap for the viewer. On several occasions, he seems to tread a well-worn path, only to upend expectations with confounding narrative twists. Richard also injects bursts of destabilizing absurdity, the perfect antithesis of the film’s oppressive atmosphere. The film’s greatest strength, though, may be the casting of excellent actors against type. Émilie Dequenne, the darling of auteur cinema, dives into genre-flick territory, playing a hard-boiled anti-heroine light years away from her role in ROSETTA. Philippe Nahon is also on board, putting aside his usual roles as wretches to play a naïve retired cop. Of all the films of the recent French horror wave, LA MEUTE is clearly among the most accomplished, highlighting the arrival of a new talent to watch out for.

—Simon Laperrière (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)

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