My neighbor, the murderous rapist. VAURIEN by Peter Dourountzis starts from this observation. That the worst monsters turn out to be, most of the time, ordinary people. However, if the intention is there, the film unfortunately flies over its subject.
The movie Peter Dourountzis was born from a fascination. That of having been in contact with several criminals in an indirect way, in Paris in the 90s. At the bend of a drink, or even an alley. Criminals, after all ordinary. Hired at Samu social, the director subsequently lost his way to illegally view files. And more particularly, the files of several serial killers, including Mamadou Traoré, Patrick Trémeau and finally, Guy Georges. The character, a squatter appreciated by his associates, always ready to help and above all, an uneventful concubine, has long proved unsuspected.
Hence the desire to tell this aggressor. French, forty, certainly homeless, but friendly and voluntary. Who does not carry the horror of his crimes on his face. Aggressor camped by Pierre Deladonchamps, César Award for Most Promising Actor for The unknown lake in 2017. And the guy is a handsome kid, with a fascinating clear gaze. But he’s also scary, intimidating, disturbing. The kind that you carefully avoid in the subway, to sit down two or three rows away, out of your field of vision. At this game, Deladonchamps excels and becomes seriously disturbing.
However, let’s face it, VAURIEN is a film in tune with the times. Against a background of social struggles and feminicides. By wanting to be committed, he sometimes suffers from doing too much. Especially during this scene, where a policeman immobilizes a man on the ground, until he suffocates from it. A violence that it is essential today to show, but which nevertheless seems like an opportunistic and somewhat disproportionate disgression – given the clumsy game of this effectively unconvincing cop. And, if it is commendable, the message wants to be somewhat hammered with the subtlety of the jackhammer.
At the same time – and ironically, the film isn’t doing enough with its main character. There was, however, material … As mentioned previously, Pierre Deladonchamps burst the screen. He viscerally embodies this detestable monster that we see, however, embrace, love and be loved. In the role of his companion, Ophelia Bau shines just as much. Through the prism of an authentic street woman character, committed body and soul to an association working for social marauding. Whole, it does not allow itself to be reached. And it is perhaps because it escapes him that the rascal becomes literally transfixed.
Sadly, despite this solid foundation, the film never fully takes the measure of the mind-boggling character it created. We come out only slightly satiated, as if we had been deprived of dessert. However, we gladly forgive Peter Dourountzis his clumsiness, because the spectacle was not without interest – far from it. This first achievement remains nonetheless promising. It shows a certain talent for directing actors, as well as a heightened aesthetic sense. It was decidedly lacking in VAURIEN than to deepen its subject further …
• Original title : Rascal
• Production : Peter Dourountzis
• Scenario: Peter Dourountzis
• Main actors : Pierre Deladonchamps, Ophélie Bau, Sébastien Houbani, Candide Sanchez
• Release date : June 9, 2021
• Duration: 1h35min