July 11, 2017 · The Pilot Light · 7:30 p.m.
The bourgeois and extremely eccentric Van Peteghem family–among them Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi–have settled in for another summer at their cliff-top villa overlooking the picturesque Slack Bay. Their leisurely rhythm of sunbathing and seaside constitutionals is soon interrupted by the arrival of two bumbling inspectors investigating a string of tourists gone missing (and serving full-on Keystone Kops).
As the macabre mysteries mount and love blossoms between the family’s genderqueer teen and the son of a local fisherman, Binoche and company ratchet the slapstick up to eleven. It’s no wonder director Bruno Dumont (Li’l Quinquin, Camille Claudel 1915) cites Peter Sellers, Monty Python, and Laurel and Hardy as cinematic influences for his delightful foray into winking, absurdist farce.
“If Mr. Bean were to sneeze on a Magritte painting, the result would look something like Slack Bay.” — Brooklyn Magazine
“Dumont’s attention to light, form, and motion is achieved gracefully, seemingly even casually, with an off-kilter spontaneity that matches their emotional fullness. Loud and rowdy comedy and its repetitive antics fuses with quietly transcendent tenderness, a geographical devotion to terrain meets special effects of a simple, irrational sublimity.” — The New Yorker
About the Filmmaker
Bruno Dumont was born in the Nord region of France (also called “Bailleul” or “Beautiful” in Flemish). Formerly a high school philosophy teacher, he shot his first two films in thesmall town of Flanders, between Lille and Dunkirk: The Life of Jesus (1997) and Humanity (1999). Both were honored at Cannes (Special Mention Caméra d’or for the former, and Grand Jury Prize, Best Actor and Best Actress for the latter), immediately establishing Bruno Dumont as a rare talent in the contemporary French scene.