Vincent Macaigne is one of my favourite contemporary actors. There’s a charm to Macaigne that has seen him likened to a young Gérard Depardieu, and while breakthrough success almost came with Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden, but thus far it has eluded him outside of his native France. The actor came to my attention via 2013’s 2 Autumns, 3 Winters, which ranked as one of my very best of that year.
Shades of Tati and whimsical American comedy can be seen in Antonin Peretjatko’s La Loi de la jungle, which stars Macaigne as a government official sent to the wilds of Guyana to oversee the construction of a modern complex deep in the rainforest. The film harks back to the golden age of culture clash situation comedies, but never feels crass or offensive. It’s daft and overt, but comes with a social hinge that makes it worthwhile and impressive, while Macaigne’s leading turn elevates it too.
Like with Macaigne’s 2 Autumns, 3 Winters alumni Sébastien Betbeder’s latest film, the isolationist comedy drama Journey To Greenland, La Loi de la jungle is being distributed online. Netflix and Mubi are proving real life-lines for contemporary French cinema by largely unknown filmmakers, with July Hygreck’s Blockbuster (more on that here) and Justine Triet’s new film In Bed With Victoria currently available on the platforms. Previous films from the so-called Jeune Cinéma umbrella have proven very difficult to see outside of France or film festivals, (indeed, I myself attempted to mount a screening of Triet’s earlier Age Of Panic some years ago, but to no avail), so it is encouraging to see these impressive films being given an accessible outlet.
La Loi de la jungle is currently streaming on Mubi. You can enjoy a free month of Mubi by clicking here.