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LEMMING

Director: DOMINIK MOLL

FRANCE • 2005 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 129 MIN.


IT ALL SEEMS TERRIBLY NORMAL TO BEGIN WITH. ALAIN (LAURENT LUCAS), AN AMBITIOUS YOUNG BOFFIN SPECIALISING IN CUTTING-EDGE HOME AUTOMATION, HAS INVITED THE COMPANY OWNER (EVER-SUAVE ANDRE DUSSOLLIER) AND HIS SPOUSE (CHARLOTTE RAMPLING) OVER TO DINNER, WHERE HIS OTHER HALF BENEDICTE (CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG) IS FRETTING OVER THE PREPARATIONS.
A bumpy night ensues, since their guests arrive late and leave early, while the term ‘abrasive’ hardly begins to cover La Rampling’s inappropriate behaviour. If that knocks the hosts off their stride, what happens next is even more perplexing: they find a rat blocking the kitchen pipe. Except that it turns out to be a Norwegian lemming. And it’s not dead. The less you know going in about how these two events connect, and how that in turn severely messes with the central couple’s head-space, the more you’ll enjoy this skew-whiff thriller. It’s as if director Dominik Moll started out making yet another study of French bourgeois anxiety then took some David Lynch pills and started hallucinating, wildly. The result is undeniably piquant, and not quite like anything else (except perhaps Moll’s fiendishly poised
previous offering, Harry, He’s Here to Help), as it progressively dismantles everything Lucas holds dear. Although the narrative takes some truly outre turns, the cast play it resolutely straight, with Lucas holding everything together as the much-hassled everyman. Gainsbourg is equal to the extreme transformation her role demands, and Rampling is in truly ferocious form. You’ll never look at a clogged sink in quite the same way again. —Trevor Johnston.

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