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France, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Towering Over The Eiffel – New French Cinema)

Director: Hélène Angel

Winner of the Best Film and Best Actor awards at the Locarno Film Festival, Skin of Man, Heart of Beast is a powerful drama set in provincial France. Hélène Angel's debut film delves into the heart of the everyday life of a family shaken by the return of clan member, Coco, after a 15-year absence. The adults, caught up in the mythic ideals of family bonds, see nothing coming—not his mother, nor his two adult brothers. As he re-enters their lives, the memory of who Coco was before, and what he has become, tinges the air with discomfort. Only his 15-year-old niece is wary of impending disaster.

Angel's aim was to look back on experiences from her own youth, a primitive world in which events she had no control over shaped her personality and her opinions. One of the most exciting new directors to emerge out of France, Angel succeeds not only in mastering a serious and disturbing subject, but also in crafting a stylish and evocative film.

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