A game of power brings these boys, Tyler & Benjamin, to an end they never expected. Set in a surface mine, the viewer is immediately sucked into the game from the start, with Benjamin (Alexandre Perreault) kicking the door of the room he’s been trapped in by Tyler (Félix Grenier) – that’s 2 – 1. The viewer counts up the scores and follows their antics, always expecting the boy’s innocent bubble of play to burst, which it does – as predicted – though it brings the viewer to a powerful conclusion they may not have expected. Fauve (2018) is predictable on purpose, simplistic but with a ripened energy throughout.
The boys are willing to try anything to win and no rules seem to apply. The only aim is to have “one up” on the other. This is achieved in numerous ways, such as climbing to the top of an abandoned train and staring at one another whilst forcing the other to laugh. They continue until the game meets an abrupt end with Benjamin as the victor and Tyler, after an act of jealousy, is left alone and faced with guilt.
Such a plot isn’t new to cinema and when you join the ubiquitous insect chirping that plays throughout with the moment Benjamin pretends to have fallen from the train he’d climbed, it gives the viewer every reason to suspect trouble ahead.
Though both performances give the viewer the perfect shoes to walk in, Félix Grenier’s portrayal of Tyler had the similar strength of Chris Chambers from Stand By Me (1986), played by the late River Phoenix. This similarity is made clear during Tyler’s final scene when he’s faced with such mature emotions and begins to weep. Marrying such a talented actor with the reliable sensitivities of Jérémy Comte gives the viewer a piece that stays with you after the screen turns black.
The landscapes captured appear crisp and ready to tear with an acid washed colour palette, resulting in a striking effect that places the two boys as the focus at all times. This is at its best during the scene Tyler retreats back alone while shots of the landscape accompany him. Musical composition is introduced for the first time as well in this scene and in doing so, it provides a much clearer representation of the overwhelming emotions within the stoic Tyler.
Although predictability is rarely favored in cinema, Fauve’s final moments forgive this decision and prove that it’s deserving of not only a spot at the Sundance Film Festival but one of its awards as well.
Dir: Jérémy Comte
Prd: Jérémy Comte
Scr: Jérémy Comte
Starring: Louise Bombardier, Félix Grenier, Alexandre Perreault
DOP: Olivier Gossot
Editor: Jérémy Comte
Music: Brian D’Oliveira
Running time: 17 minutes