In 1764 something was stalking the mountains of central France. A 'beast' that pounced on humans and animals with terrible ferocity. Indeed they beast became so notorious that the King of France dispatched envoys to find out what was happening and to kill the creature. By the end, the Beast of Gevaudan had killed over 100 people.To this day, no one is entirely sure what it was, a wolf? a hyena? or something supernatural? The Beast is a popular myth in France, albeit one rooted firmly in reality; somewhat surprisingly it is little known to the outside world, and perhaps incredibly it has never been made into a movie. Until now. Based on the true story of the Beast of the Gevaudan that terrorized France in the eighteenth century, the movie aims to tell first and explain afterwards. In the first part, a special envoy of the King of France, altogether biologist, explorer and philosopher, arrives in the Gevaudan region, in the mountainous central part of France. The Beast has been ...Written by
The DVD version of the film contains five deleted scenes, commented on by director Christophe Gans, that were cut from the movie for reasons of pacing or character continuity:
An extended version of the fight sequence the opens the film between Mani (Mark Decascos) and the highwaymen. In the extended version, Fronsac (Samuel le Bihan) ends up assisting Mani in defeating them. In the film version, Mani fights alone.
A raven assists Mani in finding the body of a shepherdhess, the beast's most recent victim. In the film, the body is found much later on than when this scene would have led the audience to believe.
Sardis (Jean-Francois Stevenin) warns Fronsac about continuing his affair with Marianne (Emilie Dequenne), saying that he doubts Fronsac has the moral character required to be with such a woman.
A tender scene between Fronsac and Marianne on a frozen pond covered in fog.
A scene set in La Teissier's where Sylvia (Monica Bellucci) reveals to Fronsac that the rooms in the bordello are equipped with two-way mirrors. She shows him a room where a friend of the Morangais family is involved in a bizarre sadomasochistic encounter.
When it is cold and wet and foreboding outside, leaving one to fend for a good escape into fantasy and a time gone by, then this movie DELIVERS. Say whatever you want about miniscule "holes" in the story, or the tedium applied to the cinematography or the excessive use of slow camera effects in the fight sequences, THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT.
This movie carries the viewer into a whole new world- not like the one inhabited by Hobbits and Elves, and other creatures that obviously DO NOT exist- but rather a world of old France where the people are stranger than fiction and the times are changing. Fables meet their demise AND their verification in this film.
It's not a movie I would call a "favorite", but it IS a movie that I consider a "guilty pleasure" on a day that affords me three hours to slip out of my existence and follow a satisfying and well-presented fantasy. Every millimeter of every frame is a work of art, and that alone is worth getting lost in.
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