Four Gallic protags are stuck in a crisscrosser with pretentions of the French kind in “Heat Wave,” the helming debut of former assistant director Jean-Jacques Jauffret. Moderately cool yarn, set during a sweltering summer day in the Gallic South, manages to get all its tight-lipped leads naked at least once. Each protag’s mundane minidrama contributes to one unexpected tragedy, but Jauffret’s mannered, “Pulp Fiction”-like cutting is too flashy for an otherwise rather sedate story. Unless it picks up some critical heat, pic will be relegated to local arthouses and fests.
Pretty supermarket checkout girl Amelie (Adele Haenel) needs to discuss the future with her lanky b.f. (Ulysse Grosjean). But he’s not listening because, as it emerges when the clock is rewound and his story is told, he wants to return to Italy after causing trouble at the local factory. In parallel stories, Amelie’s zaftig mother (Sylvie Lachat) has snuck off to have an operation and so can’t lend a sympathetic ear, while a grouchy retired laborer (Yves Ruellan) bumps into the teen lovers individually. Acting and tech credits are modest but meticulous, with some striking compositions elevating the home stretch.