The extravagant, surreal, absurd but precise and sublime film from Bruno Dumont, whose retrospective was part of the 11th NH, stars the charismatic Juliette Binoche and is a box-office hit in France. With all the genre-collage madness of arthouse vampire quasi-horror, quasi-crime story with elements of melodrama, Dumont still manages to produce intellectual and erudite cinema. Set in 1910 in French Flanders, the director's beloved provincial birthplace, the film contrasts the villa life of local aristocrats and modest existence of fishermen, whose main job has become to carry the well-heeled on their muscular shoulders. When a pudgy detective and assistant show up on the beach to solve a case of mysterious disappearances, something akin to love buds between an aristocrat and a village boy. One gag follows another, the actors purposely ham it up, and the director constantly makes allusions to cinema classics, especially Jacques Tati comedies. But this audacious vivisection of French culture also offers social critique by exposing an aristocracy unaware of how ridiculous and arrogant it is and how it erects walls between the classes. In this reality, Dumont examines the right to be different and portrays a transgender individual in a world where all categories seem rigid and lines unpassable. Laughter in Slack Bay is never empty.
French director Bruno Dumont holds a degree in philosophy and taught at a middle-school in his hometown of Bailleul. His cinematic debut was The Life of Jesus (1997). His films such as Humanity, Flandres, and Hors Satan are usually set in northern France and include themes of philosophy such as faith, the need for God, as well as sexuality and otherness. In the Li'l Quinquin miniseries andSlack Bay Dumont shows off a different, more comedic style.
1997 Życie Jezusa / La vie de Jésus / The Life of Jesus
1999 Ludzkość / L'Humanité / Humanity
2003 Dwadzieścia dziewięć palm / Twentynine Palms
2006 Flandria / Flandres / Flanders 2009 Hadewijch
2011 Poza szatanem / Hors Satan / Outside Satan
2013 Camille Claudel 1915
2016 Martwe wody / Ma loute / Slack Bay