Deerskin or Le Daim, the new film from director of Rubber, Quentin Dupieux, is a black comedy that veers less towards the absurd than Rubber, though it didn’t take me long to realise this was made by the same filmmaker; there are correlations in the outrageousness. Starring Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) as a recent divorcee in the midst of a mid-life identity crisis, this new feature from Dupieux has moments of real sad darkness and character relapse, before it heads straight into the outright madness.
Quentin Dupieux, also known by his musical stage name Mr. Oizo, is a French filmmaker, electronic musician, and DJ. Dupieux uses his full name for his filmmaking career, Mr. Oizo being only used for his musical career. With films that mean he doesn’t quite kick off his filmmaking career, with a self-exploding tyre on the run, or a dated cop comedy, it’s easy to make assumptions about Deerskin also. However, there is something more to this feature.
In search of a new life and look, Jean Dujardin’s Georges ditches his past in a roadside petrol station and encounters a vintage, fringed deerskin jacket with influential powers. He relocates to a quiet French alpine village where he professes to be an independent filmmaker by an ambitious, enterprising bartender in a sleepy saloon (Adèle Haenel as Denise) who happens to be an aspiring editor with natural production instincts. The two forge a tenuous allegiance and team up to collaborate on a film inspired by the visionary deerskin jacket.
With much of the absurd about it, clearly this film will not be for everyone, with the more mainstream film fan perhaps opting out early on. Similarly to Rubber, the personification of the jacket, along with this strange desire for all to be devoid of jackets, adds a fetishisation to the movie. Georges has an odd relationship to jackets and particularly to those of the deerskin made. However, Dujardin and Haenel pull off performances that will convince you of their conviction and will tear away at these absurdities. It’s graphic, that much is clear as the film progresses and the character Denise demands excitement, crime. There are also some dialogue moments throughout the film that make little sense, but this is a film about a jacket that is talking to it’s owner and convinces him that he has “killer style.” With it all being in the tagline and this constant reference there is little surprise to this nuanced film, aside from the relationships and the direction the plot may take.
One thing’s clear, if you enjoyed Rubber, then it’s safe you will enjoy Deerskin, and now I am simply curious as to which material or fibre Dupieux will title his next film. Who knows what PVC will get up to.
Deerskin is on general release across UK cinemas now