a film by Laurent Achard
2006 | 95 mins | France
›› The Last of the Crazy People - Le Dernier des Fous
a haunting relationship drama played for all its worth
The Last of the Crazy People by Laurent Achard Martin, an introverted ten-year-old lives a quiet life devoid of the love of his mother. Spending her days locked away in her room, the financial running of the family farm has all but landed in the lap of a grandmother with little time to dote on her grandson, given Rose is at her wits' end trying to avert a "for sale" sign being nailed on their door. Spending time instead with kindhearted housekeeper Malika and his increasingly volatile big brother Didier, a tormented poet whose hopes of homosexual bliss with neighbour Raphaël are set to shatter when the love of his life reverts to social conformity, the question beckons just how worse can things get, before someone, somewhere, suffers with terrifying results.

Vividly capturing the adult world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, here writer and director Laurent Achard delivers a boiling cauldron of cinematic emotions. Only in showcasing his work from the perspective of a boy, we do not get to see the full picture. Rather we only view fragments of the story, by way of Martin having heard things he shouldn't, having witnessed moments meant to be private.

The Last of the Crazy People by Laurent Achard As expected the splendid cast play this troubled relationship drama, for all its worth. Yet whilst some members are soon to exit stage left, it is upon Julien Cochelin's talented shoulders that this feature rests, a tough task for anyone, let alone a child actor faced with the chilling heartbreak of Timothy Findley's novel of the same name.

Hampered by overlong takes and a score that is - well, none existent, this is a film whose harrowing conclusion should arrive as no surprise. For here, Achard delights in lacing his work with a series of ominous signs, not least of which is Didier playing dead, speaking of "odd things" happening to you and at one point being photographed - seemingly decapitated. Then again and with Martin now in possession of a loaded gun, the closing reel soon turns into a celluloid train speeding its way downhill with faulty brakes, given you just know that casualties are to be had in the downright disturbing finale. Not easy viewing by any means, but hauntingly good nonetheless.

Gay Visibility - covert. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 25.May.2009 / UK.
screened as part of the 22nd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2008.
starring: Julien Cochelin, Pascal Cervo, Annie Cordy, Fettouma Bouamari, Jean-Yves Chatelais,
Dominique Reymond, Florence Giorgetti, Dorine Bouteiller and Thomas Laroppe.
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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