A man’s obsession with his designer deerskin jacket causes him to blow his life savings and turn to crime.
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy


For narrative economy, though, it would be tough to beat the enjoyably demented comedy “Deerskin,” the first film to screen in Directors’ Fortnight, a program that runs parallel to the official selection. Directed by Quentin Dupieux, the French prankster best known for his killer-tire movie “Rubber,” it’s a 77-minute high-concept lark with a sharp little sting in its tail. It stars a wholly committed Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) as Georges, a middle-aged divorcé who’s wandering the countryside when he buys and falls in love with a new jacket, a fringed deerskin number that he thinks gives him “killer style” (some wry foreshadowing there).

Georges is also a wannabe filmmaker, and when he starts using a handheld video camera to record himself — and also the jacket, with whom he carries on long and rewarding conversations — his twin obsessions merge and give birth to a singular brand of psychosis. “Deerskin” is an impudent deadpan riff on the midlife-crisis comedy that gradually morphs into an indictment of male sociopathy at its most dangerously entitled. It’s no coincidence that the movie’s best, most interesting character is Denise (a superb Adèle Haenel), a bartender and amateur film editor who gets lured into Georges’ web.

Being a film about filmmaking, “Deerskin” at times has the quality of an auteur’s confession. Dupieux has made, among other things, a deceptively light comedy about the compulsive pleasures of image making and the horrors that said compulsion can yield. To explain further would spoil the fun, which is not inconsiderable. Suffice to say that, like “Bacurau” and “Les Misérables,” “Deerskin” is a portrait of what happens when technology falls into the wrong hands, made through technology that clearly fell into the right ones.