OPENS APRIL 11, CERT 15, 77 MINS
Damien Odoul's debut feature is a coming-of-age film with a difference. Shot in black and white, full of violent and surreal imagery, it has more in common with the movies of Buñuel and Vigo or Arthur Rimbaud's poetry than with any conventional teen movie. Alienated teenager David (Pierre-Louis Bonnetblanc) lives on a remote French farm with his uncle. The older farm hands decide to get him drunk for the first time. The alcohol has a strange effect on him, sending him careering into the countryside with a gun.
As a piece of storytelling, Le Souffle doesn't amount to much. Its richness lies in its lyricism and morbid humour. Odoul blurs the lines between reality and fantasy—the grotesque opening in which the uncle slowly slits a sheep's throat, decapitates it and then disembowels it seems at first to be part of David's nightmare, but like the scene with the gun, it turns out to be all too real. Odoul is being talked about as one of the major new talents of French cinema; Le Souffle may have its longueurs, but it's still a highly impressive calling card.
Rating: 3 / 10