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France, 1987 (MIFF 1988)

Director: Edouard Niermans

For Inspector Blount (Bernard Giraudeau) life is pretty confusing His wife has left him for another man. His investigations into a series of murders reveal that the victims, before being killed are sent dead rats And to cap it all, he becomes obsessed with Violetta (Fanny Bastien) an angelic waif with a callous disregard for the truth But that's just the beginning of the alcoholic cop's zig zag progress towards some kind of redemption.

A Gallic film noir/thriller that doesn't rely on endless violence or profanity, nor on Diva like stylistics to pack its punch Instead, director Edouard Niermans has combined a certain fragmented modernism with a throwback to the solid characterisation and romantic poetry of older masters like Marcel Carne and Jacques Becker to deliver a thoughtful, fresh and affecting film.

Says director Niermans: “Right from the start we had to choose between the audience learning things as the film progressed a very classical narrative style and having them go along at the same speed as the hero, experiencing things without necessarily understanding them, which is the Hammett tradition. We chose the second method telling the story elliptically It all fits together but not everything is explained or shown - you don't need that That makes it quite modern.”

The best thing about Angel Dust is that, as in all good thrillers, almost every character wears some sort of mask, play acts, tells lies And that according to Niermans, is what good cinema is all about. It s very Wellesian Making films is about telling lies That's the fun making people believe that something false or imaginary is real.

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