While working around a basic plot-line of betrayal, Bruno Dumont’s L’il Quinquin references the codes and clichés both of comedy and television crime series by using the serial format to convey the work of a serial killer, and fully exploiting the possibilities for expanding characterization and reduplicating key actions and motifs. Comedy has always been present in Dumont’s work, of course, but only in small doses and only implicitly. If in Humanity the absurdity and burlesque effects were often just plain odd, in L’il Quinquin the laughter is frontal and explicit. It ranges from brutal black humor and caricature to social parody and satire of the police, the Church, science, and the media (long-standing themes in Dumont), and from physical gags and carnivalesque farce to vaudeville grotesquerie. L’il Quinquin swings constantly between the genres of light comedy, murder mystery, social drama, and the study of rural life.
Vision, Mystery, and Release in the Reverse Field: Bruno Dumont's L'il Quinquin
James S. Williams is Professor of Modern French Literature and Film at Royal Holloway, London, and a Film Quarterly contributing editor. His books include The Erotics of Passage: Pleasure, Politics, and Form in the Later Work of Marguerite Duras (1997), Jean Cocteau (2006), and Space and Being in Contemporary French Cinema (2013). He is co-editor of The Cinema Alone: Essays on the Work of Jean-Luc Godard 1985–2000 (2000) and For Ever Godard (2004). He is currently completing Encounters with Godard: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Politics for SUNY Press.
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James S. Williams; Vision, Mystery, and Release in the Reverse Field: Bruno Dumont's L'il Quinquin. Film Quarterly 1 September 2015; 69 (1): 9–19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2015.69.1.9
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