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VAURIEN / RASCAL (2020, FRANCE) – 5/10

A fairly botched character study of a complete sociopath and maniac was made by feature film debutant Peter Dourountzis. Only later did I realize that he designed “Vaurien” or “Rascal” after a real man, the French rapist and serial killer Guy Georges, convicted back in 2001. Even without this information, it is clear to us that the main protagonist, the young wanderer Dje (Pierre Deladonchamps), is a strange, dark guy, but he does not act, at least initially, as a rapist and murderer. He is traveling by train and without the slightest shame he hits on a girl who lets him know that she wants nothing to do with him. He gets out at the station and joins the second, and soon the third, where his dark charm will work.

He constantly wanders around the city without documents, to give the impression that he has just been released from prison, he is homeless and he always rushes in when he sees a woman nearby. Only later do we realize that he is not just one of those busy and boring guys, but that Dje is also extremely dangerous, sick and that it is better to have as little to do with him as possible. Dourountzis obviously tried to film a dark and realistic character study about such a guy and deal with social and societal issues, and in fact we don’t see any violence here at all, only these terrible things are foreshadowed. Still, a lot of it here was left sketchy, empty, without any real meaning, and ended up “Vaurien” somewhere halfway between an attempt at a wild, nihilistic sociopath trained in invisibility movie and a character study / social drama. The former lacked energy and style, and the latter lacked context and sense.