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Skin of Man, Heart of a Beast

Peau d'homme, cœur du bête

When Francky (Serge Riaboukine) is placed on extended leave after assaulting a fellow cop, he returns home to his mother’s house in the hill country of southern France. The relative calm of the household is destroyed with the sudden arrival of Francky’s younger brother Coco (Bernard Blancan), who appears after a fifteen-year absence. Only Francky’s five-year-old daughter Aurelie (Cathy Hinderchied) accepts this mysterious stranger unconditionally. Aurelie’s older sister is more suspicious of the prodigal son, her growing fears resulting in terrifying nightmares. Caught up in the mythic ideals of second chances and family bonds, the adults fail to see the warning signs in Coco’s increasingly violent behaviour. Tragedy seems inevitable as an uncomfortable and palpable sense of foreboding gradually settles around the family. Combining elements from the police thriller and fairytales, director Helene Angel’s impressive feature debut is a dark and atmospheric fable which won the Golden Leopard for Best Film and Bronze Leopard for Best Actor (Roaboukine) at last year’s Locarno Film Festival.

France, 1999.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby stereo.
96 mins.

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