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For those who haven’t seen P’tit Quinquin, the discovery of Bruno Dumont’s universe is simultaneously jarring and irresistible. The dialogue is hardly intelligible, and even greater effort is required to accept the fact that all logic is banished in this world that becomes a better reflection of the present the more it embraces the grotesque.
Starting with the title, the continuation of the TV series shows that the director hasn’t lost his touch. He does not hesitate to break one of the rules of serial storytelling, by changing the main character’s name. Quinquin is now Coincoin, because the pronunciation has been affected by time. His scooter has made way for a car with which he drives, without a license, across the flat areas of the Nord region where it rains big liquid stains. That is the mystery assigned to Inspector Van der Weyden, increasingly marred by tics and swearwords, and his trusted assistant Carpentier.
The choice to insist more on genre, with nods to American science fiction and B-movies, gives the story a different flavor: eventually, the extraterrestrial topic overlaps with a human landscape where the small nationalist right-wing committees appear indifferent to the migrants waiting to cross the Channel. The surreal tone of the story bypasses moral judgment, and when facing a world that has lost all balance, it might just be the outsiders who give some semblance of meaning to reality. These outsiders, while roaming the countryside, wear strange masks. As though it were an eternal carnival, Coincoin’s small world allows for all madness to unfold until, by adhering to this principle of suspension of reality, it just so happens that everyone, inhumans and migrants, lead characters and extras, winds up in a Felliniesque parade.