Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster
Robin Campillo's 2004 feature imagines the dead returning to a community for reasons unknown and with purpose unclear.
"Rachel, you have to accept what you feel," says Dr Gardet (Frédéric Pierrot, himself later returning in a different role for the homonymous 2012 television series adaptation) to the woman (Géraldine Pailhas) whose case he has been carefully observing - much like DP Jeanne Lapoirie's wide lens - from a distance. "Anger, frustration, hope, indifference, guilt - these emotions are hard to take all at once."
Although Robin Campillo's The Returned (aka Les Revenants, aka They Came Back) has been called a zombie film, it is not like the others. Its revenants are in good physical condition and utterly non-violent, while the director/co-writer seems, if anything, less concerned with his impenetrable undead than with the recently unbereaved. The opening sequence shows the deceased walking en masse from a cemetery to the town centre, setting the film's uncanny tone at the outset. From here, the premised miracle of (worldwide) resurrection can simply be accepted as fact, so that its sociological, political and emotional repercussions can be explored at reflective leisure. The results are an eerily elegant ghost story, all the more surreal for the realist mode of its telling.
Rachel and others must come to terms with both the loss and the return of loved ones who, in all their sleepless, aphasic otherness, are no longer what they once were, but rather haunting embodiments of unresolved feelings that must eventually be buried. Characters here, alive or dead, internalise their emotions and never raise their voices - and Campillo's artful restraint, only enhanced by the ethereal electronic score, induces the zombie-like, somnambulist state of the returned in viewers too, making us process our own complex, contradictory attitudes towards death through a veil of tears. Don't question its logic - just accept what you feel.
Occupying a crepuscular space between life and death, wakefulness and sleep, arthouse and genre, Campillo's astonishing debut is as unnervingly oneiric as it is oddly moving.
BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The
Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a
A summary of the critics and film professionals who voted for the top 50 Horror films of the 21st Century
As voted for by a panel of horror experts and friends of Film4 & FrightFest
@Film4 At 9pm, Michael Shannon is a family man moonlighting as a notorious contract killer in violent thriller The Iceman. https://t.co/CXSzzMcHYV
@Film4 Coming up at 9pm, Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder & James Franco star in fact-based crime drama The Iceman. https://t.co/SMD7P2ppMb
@Film4 Derek Zoolander's best look is:
@Film4 RT @LionsgateUK: Feel the cold with The Iceman on @Film4 tonight at 9pm! You don't want to miss this one. 👊 https://t.co/lkokGhCEKS
@Film4 @PortobelloFilm Ben Stiller and John Hamburg - it's a paraphrased quote from the film itself!