French Satire 'Deerskin' Opens Online — But Will Share Proceeds With Movie Theaters

May 1, 2020
Originally published on May 1, 2020 8:51 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The French comedy "Deerskin" was supposed to open in cinemas this week. Now it is opening online to benefit cinemas. That's right. When you screen it at home, part of the proceeds will go to your local theater. Critic Bob Mondello says "Deerskin" is a good fit for that assignment. It's a satire about moviemaking and social isolation.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: It may occur to you that Georges is a little off kilter when right at the start of the movie he neatly folds his sport coat and flushes it down a toilet - or tries to anyway. He then pays way too much for a vintage 1960s deerskin jacket with lots of fringe on the arms and chest. The seller is making out so well that he throws in a vintage camcorder that Georges slings over his shoulder.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

JEAN DUJARDIN: (As Georges, speaking French).

MONDELLO: This makes Georges, in his head at least, a filmmaker, one with what he describes inaccurately as killer style.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

DUJARDIN: (As Georges, speaking French).

MONDELLO: Though considering what's coming, maybe that's just foreshadowing. Georges' attempts to impress some women in a nearby bar that evening fall pretty flat. He's really only in love with his jacket. But a waitress mentions that she does a bit of amateur video editing...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

ADELE HAENEL: (As Denise, speaking French).

MONDELLO: ...He doesn't quite understand what editing is.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

DUJARDIN: (As Georges, speaking French).

HAENEL: (As Denise, speaking French).

MONDELLO: Still she asks to see what he's shot, which is mostly him in his new deerskin jacket. But with her encouragement, that soon changes in ways I shouldn't spoil. Writer-director Quentin Dupieux is a prankster. He once made a homicidal tire movie called "Rubber." This time, homicide is still in the mix, as are riffs about low-budget filmmaking, male posturing, women who are level-headed in a crisis and a hero who not only talks to his beloved jacket but thinks the jacket is talking back.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

DUJARDIN: (As character) Georges.

MONDELLO: A pleasantly demented Jean Dujardin...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

DUJARDIN: (As character) Georges.

MONDELLO: ...Does the talking for both of them...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DEERSKIN")

DUJARDIN: (As character, speaking French).

MONDELLO: ...Making up, I suppose, for his movie-long silence as the star of "The Artist" a few years back. "Deerskin" is a seriously eccentric goof that won't be for all tastes. It goes pretty dark. But it's just as amusing about super low-budget filmmaking and about obsessing as you might expect from a movie in which the director is also the writer and the cinematographer and the editor. I'm Bob Mondello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.