Only The Animals, which was screened on Curzon Home Cinema, opens in the Ivory Coast with a lad cycling with a goat on his back... before we are transported quickly to rural southern France in the snowy winter.
Alice (Laure Calamy) is a farmer’s wife who sells insurance and one of her clients is another farmer, the reclusive Joseph (Damien Bonnard), who is struggling to get over the death of his mother. Meanwhile another neighbour, Evelyne (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) has gone missing.
Alice’s morose husband Michel (Denis Ménochet) is acting rather suspiciously. Uninterested in his attractive wife, he is always working late in his office while his wife is forcing herself on to the equally morose Joseph who seems to just about tolerate the sex with her. There is no accounting for her taste in men.
Then there’s Marion (Nadia Tereszkiewicz), a waitress who was Evelyne’s much younger lover and who became obsessed with her. She is entwined further into the story when her image is confused with the one being used by Armand (Guy Roger N’Drin), the lad with the goat in the Ivory Coast, in an internet phishing scam into which he’s hooked Michel into believing he’s talking to, and sending money to, a girl called Amandine.
Armand needs to make money as he has his own girl trouble. He in love with a woman called Monique (Perline Eyombwan) who is the mother of his child but is now with a wealthier older man who turns out to be Evelyne’s husband Guillaume (Roland Plantin) and they’re headed for France.
There you are, I’ve spoilt the whole tangled circular plot for you. Well almost. It’s a bit more complicated than that and the brilliant thing about the film is how it’s stitched together by telling their overlapping stories with ingenious point of view shifts which often clear up one oddity before presenting us with a new one.
Possibility the best thing I’ve seen this year so far.