9 user 19 critic

Au fond des bois (2010)

Following the arrival of a deaf and mute vagrant, a young woman, Josephine, disappears from her family estate. She follows him deep into the woods even though she seems to be disgusted by him, but does Josephine want to follow him?



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Capitaine Langlois
Bernard Rouquette ...
Docteur Hughes
Jean-Pierre Gos ...
Docteur Corvot
Luc Palun ...
Jean-Claude Bolle-Reddat ...
Le procureur
Jean-Marc Stehlé ...
Le forgeron
Yvette Peyremorte ...
La femme Coudroyer
Adrien Kauffmann ...
Valérie Soyez ...
Marie - la voisine Coudroyer
Tiphaine Benoit ...
Doris - la fille de Marie
Madeleine Celis ...
Philippe Dofny ...
Le président


In 1865, Timothee, a wanderer, arrives in a village in southern France pretending he is deaf and mute. There, he is struck by the beauty of a young woman, Josephine, and asks for hospitality at the house of Dr Hughes, her father. At dinner, he makes strange tricks inducing weird reactions in Josephine. The next day, he comes back when she is alone and makes her fall in a state of hypnotic lethargy before taking advantage of her. Overwhelmed by his powerful hypnotic gift, she follows him even though she seems to be disgusted and afraid of him. He takes her deep into the woods and continues to abuse her until he is arrested and tried. But how did Josephine accept to follow him? Written by Locarno Film Festival

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Release Date:

13 October 2010 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Deep in the Woods  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Definitely worth checking out
3 March 2013 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

This is a story set in 19th century France of a poor and seemingly simple-minded vagrant who tricks his way into a prominent do-gooders house by pretending to be a deaf mute in order to bewitch and rape his virginal daughter (Isild Le Besco). After he deflowers her, she ends up following him "deep into the woods", but is unclear if she does so willingly or because he has some strange power over her. . .

It's hard to agree with most of the criticisms of this movie. It is a very ambiguous film, but it is an intriguing ambiguity rather than a frustrating ambiguity and vastly preferable at any rate to the usual Hollywood tendency of hitting the audience over the head with every blunted plot point. The idea of a woman coming to sympathize with her rapist is pretty "politically incorrect", but there is such a thing as Stockholm Syndrome, and you also have to reckon with the fact that this was set in the 19th century where women's sexuality was kept so deeply repressed that it's not hard to imagine they might fall under the hysterical sway of any man who releases it (or merely use him as an excuse to their explore own repressed sexual desires). A goodly portion of the movie does involve little but the two characters wandering around the French countryside and having sex. But I don't really find the natural beauty of the French countryside boring, and I certainly don't find the natural beauty of Le Besco's incredible body the least bit boring.

Isilde Le Besco is really quite an amazing actress. There is no Anglophone actress of her talent that would take on the heavily sexual and constantly undraped roles that she does (the only possible exception being Kate Winslet). She is not conventionally pretty, but she is unconventionally beautiful, and like Kate Winslet I'm sure the crazies (who consider anorexia sexy) might call her "fat", but she is really just a naturally voluptuous young woman, and I think everybody has just forgotten what one looks like after being exposed to all these walking skeletons with fake breasts. The actor playing the vagrant "Timothee" I've never seen before or since, but he is certainly effective in this role and he does have a diminutive Rasputin-like charm to him.

This movie is available with English subtitles, but it has never been released in America. Still if you get a chance, it's definitely worth checking out.

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