The randomness of images and lack of visual development won't win Odoul new fans, nor will the almost parodistic level of Gallic philosophical enquiry. Prospects outside Paris are low.

Perhaps it takes a certain kind of Frenchman to appreciate the pics of Damien Odoul, including his latest essay in self-analysis, “Rich Is the Wolf.” Compiled from eight years of seemingly casual footage, “Wolf” begins with an intriguing premise: A missing man’s g.f. goes through hundreds of hours of video he left behind, hoping to get closer to her lover. The randomness of the images and lack of visual development won’t win Odoul new fans; nor will the almost parodic level of Gallic philosophical inquiry. Prospects outside Paris are low.

“Like your chopped-off head offered me in a box” is how Marie (Marie-Eve Nadeau) describes the cartons of Olaf’s cassettes she obsessively watches, trying to figure out what they say about her lover of seven months (Odoul is glimpsed and heard in voiceover as Olaf). First his family history, then his mental problems, his obsessions and his Freudian p.o.v. are revealed, interspersed with scenes of Marie and a friend (Isabelle Lepage) discussing her theories. No humor creeps in, unless mashing hamburger and canned peach halves down a toilet is funny. Perhaps it’s profound? Image quality varies from extra-grainy to sharp.

Rich Is the Wolf

France

Production

A D.O. Films production. (International sales: Le Pacte, Paris.) Produced by Damien Odoul. Co-producer, Mathieu Amalric. Executive producer, Myrtille Saint-Martin. Directed, written, edited by Damien Odoul.

Crew

Camera (color, B&W, DV), Odoul; sound, Sylvain Malbrant. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (noncompeting), Aug. 5, 2012. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Marie-Eve Nadeau, Damien Odoul, Isabelle Lepage.

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