Friday, May 8, 2020


While Quentin Dupieux’s films are somewhat strange & surreal, they’re also quite personal. One of the characters in his masterpiece Wrong Cops (2013) makes bottom heavy analog-based electronic music just like Dupieux’s musical alter-ego in real life Mr. Oizo (actually, electronic music - that Dupieux makes for his movies - is the backbone to his own little cinematic universe). Part of his 2014 film Reality focuses on a filmmaker in the midst of a midlife crisis trying to get a film made. This character could very well be inspired by Dupieux’s own experience in the movie industry (directors love making themselves in to characters in their own films). Deerskin centers around another filmmaker in the midst of a midlife crisis trying to get a film made. In fact, Jean Dujardin’s “Georges” could very well be the same director character from Reality. They’re both struggling grizzled filmmakers who both kind of resemble Dupieux.

Deerskin plays out like a darkly comical mixture of Harvey Keitel’s character from Youth and the mockumentary Man Bites Dog under the direction of Eric Wareheim (this kind of makes sense as Wareheim & Dupieux not only have similar directing styles and comedic timing, but they've also collaborated on multiple occasions).
Jean Dujuardin’s “Georges” is a an insecure unethical filmmaker (both in front of and behind the camera) making an illegal film snuff film all while exploiting a young impressionable "intern" by the name of “Denise” (Adele Haenel). Georges not only takes money from Denise in order to make his film, but he also gets her to edit his movie for no pay or reimbursement for the money she’s giving him (perhaps this is some kind of commentary on how young people are used & exploited in the film industry by struggling aging directors?)

Deerskin should also be praised just for the 70-something minute runtime alone. I don't have anything against long movies but some stories can get their point across in the half the time. Deerskin breezes by and conveys everything it set out to do with no leftover fat like a perfectly executed episode of Twin Peaks.
I know it’s lazy and cliche to compare any movie that’s even remotely surreal or “weird” to David Lynch but in the case of Deerskin it’s actually understandable. It would make for an interesting double feature with Twin Peaks.
Both Twin Peaks & Deerskin have similar color palettes (note the continuity of brown that runs all throughout the images below), similar settings (nature, mountains, etc) and, as I already eluded to, they’re both from the same school of surrealism. They aren’t exactly siblings but they’re definitely first cousins...

Twin Peaks /

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Going back to Dupieux/Mr Oizo’s music for a moment - I find it interesting that in Deerskin he abandons his usual fast-paced electronic style and instead relies heavily on a slower, sample-based musical score that could kind of be described as hip-hop influenced (Dupieux/Oizo has been very open about his lightweight disdain for hip-hop music because of a bad experience he had with one rapper years ago). This kind of stuff is why I think Dupieux’s films are so personal and open. It’s a very corny & insecure thing to express disdain for a musical style (based on something that's not that serious to begin with) then turn around and borrow from it. It’s literally something Georges would do in Deerskin. Georges is very insecure and transparent. In the film he has the nerve to “borrow” money from Denise (without any intentions of paying it back), yet he’ll be rude to her at the same time. Normally when a person borrows money from someone you think they’d be courteous and cordial, but not Georges. He’s self-centered and strangely caught up in style and looking cool. Throughout the film he uses the phrase “killer style” to describe himself (what grown person over the age of 20-something would use that term to describe themselves?).

If you’re a fan of Tim & Eric’s more narrative based work like Bedtime stories, Joe Pera Talks With You, or the aforementioned works like Man Bites Dog and/or Reality, then you’re bound to enjoy this.


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