Cannes Film Festival 2024: Plastic Guns (Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Quinzaine des Cinéastes)

Cannes Film Festival 2024: Plastic Guns (Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Quinzaine des Cinéastes)
Cannes Film Festival 2024: Plastic Guns (Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Quinzaine des Cinéastes)

We have known since Blood oranges that Jean-Christophe Meurisse dreams of himself as the brat of French cinema, not hesitating to push the cursors of excess as far as possible to paint a satirical portrait of French society. With Plastic guns, the filmmaker persists and draws inspiration this time from the Dupont de Ligonnès affair, which he unfolds into several narrative threads: one follows two amateur investigators set out in search of the Nantes killer, another the arrest of a false culprit and a last one focuses on the exile of de Ligonnès in Argentina. If the absurd starting point was intriguing, it ultimately only serves as a pretext to re-serve exactly the same program asBlood Oranges : a succession of stretched sequences which confuse comedy and hysteria, a sneering look at peripheral France, a gratuitous explosion of violence, sketches by popular comedians arbitrarily integrated into the whole (Vincent Dedienne, Nora Hamzawi, Aymeric Lompret, Jonathan Cohen succeed Blanche Gardin – we still saw more punk than poaching half of the France Inter columnists), all blended into a bloated aesthetic (slow motion, looking at the camera, extended tracking shot, etc.) punctuated by French variety ( Dalida replaces Barbara).

This bric-a-brac could be simply annoying if it did not turn out to be detestable in places. Beyond the grotesque, Jean-Christophe Meurisse also aims to establish a form of unease which raises more questions. This is evidenced by a particularly long sequence, where the two budding detectives meet a neighbor of de Ligonnès who begins to utter an interminable monologue of racist and homophobic insults. Both conventional and lazy, the “gag” invites us to make fun of average France (it does it again later, with a neighbor with a distorted face at the time). Elephant Man). It is difficult not to see in the stretching of this tirade a form of somewhat crass self-satisfaction with the idea of ​​shocking the viewer. This tendency towards easy and childish provocation reaches its peak with the aberrant reconstruction of the killing, which falls like a hair in the soup towards the end of the film. However, there is no point in giving in to old critical reflexes by accusing the scene of obscenity: that would undoubtedly be making too much of a film that is simply stupid, not even malicious.

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