For a while there, Bruno Dumont had a reputation for making Very Serious Movies with a distinct style that tended to be embraced by diehard cinephiles but little else. But all that changed with 2014’s cinematic miniseries “P’tit Quinquin” which not only found critical favor, but the kind of broader arthouse audience Dumont never experienced before. And judging by the look of his upcoming “Slack Bay,” that’s unlikely to change.
Starring Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and Jean-Luc Vincent, this is a wild, 1910-set tale about the cannibalistic Bréfort family and their connection to a string disappearances in Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing. Here’s the synopsis:
Summer 1910. Several tourists have vanished while relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Channel Coast. Infamous inspectors Machin and Malfoy soon gather that the epicenter of these mysterious disappearances must be Slack Bay, a unique site where the Slack river and the sea join only at high tide. There lives a small community of fishermen and other oyster farmers. Among them evolves a curious family, the Bréfort, renowned ferrymen of the Slack Bay, lead by the father nick-named “The Eternal”, who rules as best as he can on his prankster bunch of sons, especially the impetuous Ma Loute, aged 18. Towering high above the bay stands the Van Peteghems’ mansion. Every summer, this bourgeois family – all degenerate and decadent from inbreeding – stagnates in the villa, not without mingling during their leisure hours of walking, sailing or bathing, with the ordinary local people, Ma Loute and the other Bréforts. Over the course of five days, as starts a peculiar love story between Ma Loute and the young and mischievous Billie Van Peteghem, confusion and mystification will descend on both families, shaking their convictions, foundations and way of life.
“Slack Bay” opens in France on May 11th, which is also the first day of the Cannes Film Festival. Just sayin’. No word yet on a U.S. distributor or date.