Well-hidden shelves usually exist for a good reason, and hauling Damien Odoul’s 1992 first feature “Morasseix” into the light of day will do nothing to enhance this helmer’s contentious reputation. Much like his subsequent “Deep Breath,” pic is set in a fictitious country town populated by a grating assortment of inbred cretins (“Deliverance,” anyone?) whose tiresome antics never achieve the slapstick tone Odoul claims as inspiration. First broadcast on French TV in an earlier cut in ’93, newly edited version preemed in Venice before Paris niche release this October. The shelf still beckons.
Essaying the sole “normal” character among the male population of the town of Morasseix, Odoul plays Cesar, a petty thief who treats the other inhabitants with a patronizing friendship. Beautician Lili (Audrey Bellessort) hopes their relationship means something, but he pushes her off onto half-wit Douze (Pascal Pagnat), named after the gauge of his ubiquitous shotgun. Odoul’s gleeful fascination with the insularity of country life and the simpletons he believes inhabit such places insults rural people everywhere. Cast, except for vet thesp Dora Doll, mostly have gone nowhere from here. Grainy, penumbral lensing contributes to overall ugliness.