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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'THE BEAST UNDERNEATH'
- Directed by Anaëlle Morf & Alexandre Rufin -

The Beast Underneath is a mockumentary about the life of a famous fisherman who becomes self-absorbed in the story of his success.

In the city of La Baie, Quebec, Marc Gagnon is a local personality. In February 2016 he managed to catch an enormous fish, belonging to an undiscovered species of halibut. Even television crews came to catch the news. The film is a portrait of him through the eyes of his family.

The director uses the form of portrait documentary, but chooses a different path: what if the subject's loved really spoke their mind? Moreover, the film mocks the flamboyant heroism often pursued by documentarists and invents a main character that didn’t achieve anything brave, but is a champion fisherman. As it often happens in the presence of a camera, Marc’s family members tend to excessively praise him, a hilarious recount being that of his mother who glorifies him. But she is the only one that remains faithful to the idealized image: his brother is frustrated of living in Marc’s shadow, his wife feels neglected because of his obsession with fish. Marc presents himself to be “more than a good fisherman” and is preoccupied with catching the “mother of the fish”, which he saw when he pulled the halibut out of the water.  He roams all day close to the frozen water and even writes poetry about his fishing. The film ends on an absurd note: Marc comes at night to his fishing place and claims to hear the sound of the fish; the ice on the lake is cracking and he goes and jumps right in the freezing water yelling “Come and take me!”.

This mockumentary seems so genuine that it takes a while for the viewer to acknowledge the satire. Each of the actors gives a brilliant performance, mastering the typologies of their characters. The well-written witty text they have to deliver further builds the impression of authenticity. The creative team has a good understanding of the cinematic time and allow each sequence to properly unfold. We appreciate’s the director's ability to create an atmosphere and transmit a mood: the audience feels immersed in the frozen world of the fisherman.

“The Beast Underneath” is a short film that ridicules megalomania through the means of a fresh genre, the mockumentary. This cinematic piece has a good story and a well-developed visual identity and we consider its team of filmmakers to be talented, skillful and meticulous in their work.