Tuesday, June 14, 2011


16th French Film Festival
Cinema 4, Shang Cineplex

This story unfolds through the eyes of a 10 year old boy named Martin. The locale is on a farm in the French countryside where life is pretty tranquil in a rustic way. The silent surroundings is in stark contrast to the crystal clear family crisis brewing in the household.

The farm is on the brink of bankruptcy. Martin's grandmother is desperately trying to sell it off to a rich neighbor. Jean, Martin's father is pretty much useless. Martin's mother Nadege is prone to bouts of insanity. His brother Didier is a frustrated poet and in 'the closet'. It is summer time and poor Martin has to find some means to amuse himself despite the strange stirrings of his immediate family.

The film is devoid of any music and moves at a slow pace. Its plot has this creepy foreboding sense that something shocking will happen to each if not all of the characters. So towards the end when tragedy does strike you are immune to the terrible blow. Perhaps it's because you simply lost interest somewhere in the course of the film or the sheer anticipation for that definitive moment simply makes you numb from the disturbing truth.

The doe-eyed lad with a single facial expression throughout who plays Martin carries much of the film and is quietly up to the task. As you watch the film, you keep thinking that such a negative environment is certainly not a healthy way to bring up a child. We are wary that underneath that passive surface a storm is slowly brewing and as it gains strength, the eventual devastation will be very catastrophic.

Despite its narrative simplicity, slow pace and somewhat surreal characters, "Le Dernier des Fous" succeeds in being a thought-provoking and highly disturbing piece of family drama.

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