Slack Bay (Ma Loute)
Director: Bruno Dumont
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Jean-Luc Vincent, Raph, Brandon Lavieville, Cyril Rigaux, Malfoy Laura Dupore
Language: French with English subtitles
Country of Origin: France, Belgium 2016 122 mins. (15)
Official Selection, Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2016; Closing Night Film, French Film Festival UK
Released by New Wave Films
Slapstick, surreal, bizarre, theatrical, Bruno Dumont follows 'P'tit Quinquin' (2014) with a surreal whodunnit set in 1910 on the coast of Nord Pas de Calais. Holiday makers are mysteriously disappearing in Slack Bay and bowler hatted cops, stand-ins for Laurel and Hardy, Machin (Didier Despres) who's Monsieur fall over, roll down the dunes and his side kick Malloy (Cyril Rigaux) are on the case.
Amongst the small community, the Brufont's led by 'The Eternal' (Thierry Lavieville) who has little control of his family, especially his impetuous 18-year-old son Ma Loute (Brandon Lavieville) harvest mussels and offer holiday makers a very special ferry service.
The bourgeois Van Peteghems summer at their Egyptian style Typhonium. Andre (Fabrice Luchini), head of the house, his wife Isabella (Valerie Brunei-Tedeschi), their two daughters, Andre's neurotic OTT sister Aude (Juliette Binoche) and niece Billie (Raph), who dresses as a boy and has her eye on Ma Loute.
Machin and Malloy investigate the mystery of the disappearing visitors, the Brufonts meet their haughty dysfunctional neighbours, the sun shines on this quiet corner of the Northern French coast and the Van Petegham's maid Nadge (Laura Dupre) knows the dark secret of the sand dunes.
Bruno Dumont's superb cast dive into a bizarre, surreal, seaside whodunnit with inspired OTT theatrical flair and a bit of levitation. Yes, it could be edited down from a lengthy 122 minutes but that still leaves a fascinating, visually stunning, slapstick, over-the-top, character-filled, Nord Pas de Calais coastal romp.