Li'l Quinquin

Director: Bruno Dumont
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 3.0

In a remote village in France, somebody is murdering the residents and feeding their bodies to the livestock, which leads bumbling, foggy Commandant Van der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost) and his assistant Carpentier (Philippe Jore) to "investigate" the crimes (meaning: drive in circles); in the same region, tiny hooligan Quinquin (Alane Delhaye) and his buddies torment everyone in sight. Initially made for French TV, this is Dumont working on a kind-of meta-level - he's simultaneously revisiting old themes (spiritual torment, graphic torture) while subverting those themes with dry, black humor (which not something Bresson or Dreyer would have ever attempted): the church/funeral scene, for example, is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Dumont's penchant for working with non-professional and/or disabled performers also gives this an off-kilter vibe: Pruvost's endless facial tics and bizarre declarations make him a consistently unpredictable lead figure, while Delhaye's puggish troublemaker (he reminds me of Sluggo from the Nancy comic strip) adds sense of naive innocence (he's very protective of his girlfriend, Eve) to the depravity taking place all around him.