Writer and Director: Quentin Dupieux
Reviewer: Richard Maguire
Georges wants to be the only person in the world to wear a jacket in this daft French comedy which has cult hit written all over it. Serial killers have never looked so smart.
Jean Dujardin, who won on Oscar in 2011 for his lead in the silent movie The Artist, plays Georges, a man who’s just spilt up from his wife. He finds comfort in the purchase of a deerskin jacket, complete with a fringe of tassels. That the jacket was made in Italy delights Georges as it seems proof of provenance and of authenticity. He doesn’t seem to care that the jacket is an inch too short. He’s sure he looks ‘stoking’.
In buying the jacket, Georges also receives a video camera and what better subject for a film than his prized deerskin jacket. Georges films himself wearing it, gently waving the tassels against the mirror or he films it on a hanger in his hotel room, moving in the gentlest of draughts. This new life as a filmmaker suits Georges very well. But there are two problems; he has no money, and the jacket begins to make impossible demands.
As a visitor to a sleepy town and a dated hotel, Georges is a figure of interest, especially when he announces he is a filmmaker. The local sex worker, believing that Georges’ cowboy outfit means that he is a pornographer, even offers her services. He knows nothing about film, but he still finds it easy to recruit extras for his shoots.
Deerskin is often very funny and the deadpan humour suits well the faded colours that maverick director and cinematographer Quentin Dupieux favours. Playing it straight is Adèle Haenel who plays Georges’ only friend in the village. Together Dujardin and Haenel delight as the oddball couple, but the relationship between man and jacket is the most important here.
At only 77 minutes long, Deerskin is the perfect late-night entertainment. Offbeat and a little strange, this film features the best performance from a deerskin jacket since Midnight Cowboy.
The London Film Festival runs from 2 October to 13 October 2019