The Scapegoat and numerous crazy families

With The Scapegoat, French director Nicolas Bary has directed his second full-length film and his second literary adaptation, after Trouble at Timpetill (2007), which he adapted from the work by Henry Winterfeld. 

In The Scapegoat, Benjamin Malaussène (Raphaël Personnaz, The Princess of Montpensier, The French Minister and The New Girlfriend) is the oldest son, responsible for a large family living in the popular district of Belleville (Paris). The family is happy but chaotic, and the children fend for themselves since their mother is constantly in search of lovers and "the fathers never stay long". Yet, Benjamin's work is not so ordinary: he is employed by the manager (Guillaume de Tonquédec) of a large Parisian store to work, on a confidential basis, as a scapegoat. When a series of incidents occur wherever he goes, inspectors' suspicions naturally fall on him. An intrepid and seductive journalist, with the surname Aunt Julia (played by Bérénice Bejo of The Artist, The Past and The Search), accompanies him in a quest to prove his innocence.

Actor-director Emir Kusturica, a two-time winner of the Palme D'Or (Farewell, Underground, Black Cat, White Cat), stars opposite this group of crazy characters in a role of equivalent drama. Isabelle Hupert (My Little Princess, Valley of Love) is credited as editor, along with two actresses who take on principal roles in other films in the Comedy Collection of the Walk this Way project: Mélanie Bernier (The Brats by Anthony Marciano) as one of the sisters in the wild family, and Alice Pol (Supercondriaque by Dany Boon) as a child psychiatrist. Around 50 additional actors and more than 100 extras star in this drama, bringing the novel’s extravagance to the big screen.

The Scapegoat is adapted from a book of the same name by French writer Daniel Pennac. It is the first novel in the very successful Malaussène series, which is comprised of six volumes and was published between 1985 and 1999. The carefully executed artistic direction, in combination with music by Rolfe Kent (Dexter, The Men Who Stare at Goats), captures the story’s zany ambiance.

This French-Belgian-Luxembourg co-production, released at the end of 2013 in more than 300 French cinemas, can be viewed exclusively via Video on Demand in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria and Great Britain. The Scapegoat is part of a collection of nine French comedies, all available on September 1 this year.

10 September 2015, by Cineuropa