- Staying Vertical Alternative
Alain Guiraudie often mixes realism with dreamlike fable to seductive, surprising, even surreal effect, and his follow-up to Stranger by the Lake is perhaps his most ambitious, idiosyncratic work yet. Searching for wolves in southwestern France, blocked filmmaker Leo (Bonnard) meets shepherdess Marie (Hair); almost at once, they're parents. When she leaves him holding the baby, Leo starts having other intense encounters - mostly with men somewhat unusual in appearance, but also with a swamp sorceress. Guiraudie's slyly subversive contemporary fairytale touches lightly on issues like creativity, parenting, tradition and modernity, desire and death, birth and rebirth; painterly yet extremely explicit (think Courbet's L'Origine du monde), elliptical yet digressive, frequently funny yet haunted by the prospects of failure and melancholy solitude, it revels in the unexpected, contradictory and uncategorisable. The title itself is suggestive of its multilayered metaphors. Defiantly original, unrepentantly odd.