Skin of Man, Heart of Beast

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Aurélie, five, and Christelle, 13, go to stay with their gran and uncle Alex after mum walks out. When their dad Francky, a womanising, hard-drinking Marseilles cop, is told to take some leave and calm down, he follows them to the family farm in the Provençal Alps. Also just back, as it happens, is Coco, a third brother unheard of for 15 years - away with the Foreign Legion, or so he says. Cue boozing, brawling and hanging out at a friend's disco-cum-brothel where Alex does odd jobs. Quiet Coco, though, never looks at ease with all the machismo. Other French accounts of dysfunctional families and violent masculinity spring to mind, but this is better than most. That's due partly to the marvellous casting and acting, to the telling but unsentimental placing of the kids within the narrative, and to a mood of tragic inexorability established from the start; but also, crucially, to the detached yet compassionate truth of its depiction of everyday horrors.

Release details

Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Hélène Angel
Screenwriter: Hélène Angel
Cast: Serge Riaboukine
Bernard Blancan
Pascal Cervo
Maaïke Jansen
Cathy Hinderchied
Virginie Guinand
Jean-Louis Richard
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