Champs-Elysées Film Festival: The beast in the jungle, Anaïs Demoustier under the sunlights (review)

Champs-Elysées Film Festival: The beast in the jungle, Anaïs Demoustier under the sunlights (review)

This poetic-fantastic film, freely inspired by a short story by Henry James, exudes a poisonous sensuality. It is presented in competition.

The Beast is everywhere. As luck would have it, the president of the jury for this 12th Champs-Elysees Film FestivalBertrand Bonello, will have to judge this beast in the jungle by Patric Chiha, adaptation of the same short story by the American writer as the author of The Apollonid himself transposed in his next feature film, The beast (expected release next December). No one knows if Bonello will seek to find points of attachment between this film and his. Not sure however that there are many as said adaptation by Patrick Chiha seems free. Take a closer look: the plot takes place in a Parisian nightclub between 1979 and 2004, a priori, far from the universe of the author of portrait of a woman.

Five events not to miss at the Champs-Elysées Film Festival

Unremovable Vampires

The Beast in the Jungle SO. Love is seen here as a Faustian pact that promises a crossing of time under the protective neon lights of the artificial nights of a discotheque. May (Anaïs Demoustier) and John (Tom Mercier, the Synonyms by Nadav Lapid) thus see rhythms and modes follow one another like irremovable vampires waiting for the big night. The arrival of Mitterrand in power, the ravages of AIDS, the attacks on the World Trade Center…, so many time markers that pass and slip away in the off-screen of a reality skilfully kept at a distance under the white smoke of a dance floor.

The film by Austrian Patrick Chiha (Brothers of the Night, If it was love…), is inhabited by the presence – and the sweet voice – of Béatrice Dalle as a formidable storyteller. We think a lot about the poetic-fantastic cinema of Yann Gonzalez, Bertrand Mandico or even Bertrand Bonello, which maintains beings and things in a totally reconfigured space-time.


The beast in the jungle, is above all a film with dark romanticism, dark poetry, which under its baroque scrolls deploys a claimed sensuality. And if it sometimes comes up against its own limits (narrative redundancies and stylistic affectations), this singular object seduces. VG

By Patrick Chiha. With: Anaïs Demoustier, Tom Mercier, Béatrice Dalle… Dist. Diamond films. Duration: 1h43. Released August 16.

Presented at the CEFF on Friday 23 at 8:15 p.m. at the Publicis Cinema and on Saturday 24 at 4:00 p.m. at the Lincoln (theatre 1)

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