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Dharma Guns

François-Jacques Ossang
Portugal, France 2010 / 93’

A visitor named Stan arrives in a country ruled by militarists, passing himself off as the son of professor Starkov, a specialist in experiments with the human psyche. Stan writes reports for his foster father, combining them into a film script. While also trying to find Dalié, a former intimate, he is entwined in a conspiracy of the Dharma Guns, a rebel group trying to destabilise the whole country.

If cinema has already tried everything, all that remains is toying with conventions and motifs. It is a challenge to put film pieces together to form a puzzling whole. Dharma Guns is missing only the kitchen sink. There are dystopia elements from Godard’s Alphaville or Wachowskis’ Matrix, a spy story in The Bourne Identity style, references to noir cinema and the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink, along with motifs from horror literature (Poe, Lovecraft) and beat generation prose (Burroughs, Kerouac). Nonetheless, it is engrossing (excellent, video clip-like sequences) and irritating (pompous monologue/dialogue), while offering a convincing vision of a man searching for his identity, without certainty if operates in the real world or a mental simulacrum.

Piotr Kletowski

François-Jacques Ossang

Born in 1956 in Paris as Jacques Plougeaut. Actor, screenwriter, and film director. Also a writer and musician (creator of a band M.K.B. Franction Provisoire). He made his directorial debut as F.J. Ossang in 1985 with L’Affaire des divisions Morituri – a film combining the aesthetics of avant-garde and melodrama cinema. His subsequent films, especially Silence, which received the prestigious Jean Vigo award, and in Doctour Chance, a film fantasy on hardboiled crime fiction (with cameo and music by Joe Strummer of The Clash), Ossang prove his artistry in the field of poetic cinema.

Filmography

1985 L’Affaire des divisions Morituri

1990 Le Trésor des îles chiennes

1997 Docteur Chance / Doctor Chance

2007 Silêncio / Silence (short)

2008 Ciel éteint! / Sky’s Black Out! (short)

2008 Vladivostok (short)

2010 Dharma Guns

Prepared by: Piotr Kletowski

Cast & Crew

director François-Jacques Ossang
screenplay François-Jacques Ossang
cinematography Gleb Teleshov
editing François-Jacques Ossang, Jean-Christophe Sanchez
music Jack Belsen-Hautmont, Little Drake, M.K.B. Fraction Provisoire
cast Guy McKnight, Elvire, Lionel Tua, Diogo Dória, Stéphane Ferrara, Patrick Bauchau
producer Bruce Satarenko
production OSS/100 Films & Documents, Cinemate (Lisbonne), Love Streams agnès b. Productions
sales Umedia
language French, English
colouration colour & b&w