french films > Demented


Le Dernier des fous


cast: ulien Cochelin, Pascal Cervo, Annie Cordy

year: 2006

colour: yes


director: Laurent Achard

runtime: 96

Laurent Achard's taut, unsettling feature is not your average French film about rural childhood. Based on The Last of the Crazy People, a novel by Canadian writer Timothy Findlay, Achard's film is a powerful, atmospheric, distinctly unsettling story of desperation, madness and psychological violence. Twelve-year-old outsider Martin is growing up on a run-down farm, and finding family life cold comfort indeed. His forbidding grandmother rules the roost, his older brother - a frustrated poet - is in the midst of an emotional meltdown, and Maman, played unnervingly by the always excellent Dominique Reymond - is the proverbial madwoman in the attic, a terrifying figure living behind locked doors. A subtle, starkly made drama that keeps its implicit Gothic excesses tightly reined in right up to the startling climax, Demented is the sobering corrective to all those cosy nostalgic dramas of French country life. Expect it to put Achard on the map.


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