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France, 2000 (MIFF 2002, International Panorama)

Director: Damien Odoul

Winner of two awards at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, including the Cinema of the Present - Special Jury Award, Deep Breath tells a singular tale of an alienated teenage boy who lives with his uncle in the French countryside. In the course of a day, David gets drunk for the first time and finds his burgeoning maturity put to the test under a hot sun. A sheep is slaughtered, David drifts from the pack where he experiences strange visions and his alcohol stupor steers him on the edge of death.

Filmed entirely in black-and-white, and hosting compelling performances from its predominantly non-professional cast, Deep Breath offers a merciless depiction of a confused teenager loose in a rural world that apparently offers no real options. Prompting inquiries into issues of initiation and bonding, this feature debut from French writer-director Damien Odoul is a superbly realised coming of age film.

"I think it's possible for beauty to exist in the death of childhood... It is a fundamental experience of the direct passage to adulthood, just like in traditional and primitive societies." - Damien Odoul

Damien Odoul (born in Le Puy, France, 1968) has directed many short films, including La Douce (1988), À l'ouest de l'orient (1990), Elegeia (1995), Sans Monde (2000) and Magik (2001). Deep Breath (Le Souffle) is his first feature film.

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