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AVIDA

France, 2006 (MIFF 2006, International Panorama)

Director: Benôit Délépine, Gustave de Kervern

The cinema of the absurd finds new champions in the form of directors Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern.

When a deaf-mute dog handler's employer falls victim to his own paranoia, the dog handler is drawn into a scheme to kidnap an obese billionaire's dog. The plan goes awry and the criminals are forced to carry out the billionaire's bizarre demands. Stitching a series of sketches together into a narrative of inspired lunacy, Avida revels in the grotesquery of humans and animals alike, and delights in comparing the two. The poised black-and-white cinematography of Hugues Poulain frequently portrays humans, animals and buildings freakishly out of context - and most of the actors are physically challenged in some way. The cast, perhaps unsurprisingly, includes Jean-Claude Carrière, Fernando Arrabal and Claude Chabrol.

Packed with casual literary and artistic references, and a comic sensibility somewhere between Monty Python and Jacques Tati, the surreal, deadpan hilarity of Avida proclaims Delépine and de Kervern as the new heirs to the Dadaist tradition.

D/S Benoît Delépine, Gustave de Kervern P Benoît Jaubert, Mathieu Kassovitz WS Films Distribution L French w/English subtitles
TD 35mm/b&w/2006/83mins

Benoît Delépine was born in Saint Quentin, France, in 1958. Gustave de Kervern was born in the Mauritius Islands in 1962. Their films include Aaltra (2004).

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