“Teddy” is a French film written and directed by the Boukherma brothers. Released in France on June 30, the film won the special jury prize at the Gerardmer International Fantastic Film Festival and has the “Cannes 2020” label. Teddy (played by Anthony Bajon), 19 years old, is a young man with no reference points and no diploma. He lives in a small country village with his uncle and works as a temp in a massage parlor. His girlfriend, Rebecca (Christine Gautier), has just graduated from high school. One night during a full moon, he is scratched by an unknown beast in the forest.
Despite the synopsis, the film is not a werewolf movie as we are used to see like “Wolfman” (2010) by Joe Johnston. Indeed, the film alternates between comedy, drama, fantasy and horror. Teddy is a teenager who has difficulty to find his place in society. He is rejected by other people of his age who are still in school. Frequently humiliated in his work and violated by the police of his village. All this will gradually lead to frustration and anger.
In this film, the werewolf is more used as a concept than as the central subject of the film. By artistic choice or/and by lack of budget, Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma have chosen to not really show the werewolf, relying on some tricks. This allows to maintain the mystery about the existence of the wolf during the whole film.
The writing of the character of Teddy is very interesting, despite his raw and aggressive side, he is really touching, thanks to Anthony Bajon, we can feel the different emotions of Teddy and develop true empathy. All this makes him a very complete and really interesting character. We feel that the two directors know and understand the subjects and the universe they approach. First of all, they present, through the character of Teddy, a youth that violently confronts reality, which advances without reference points and that painfully experiences the different aspects of life.
Moreover, the fact that the film takes place in a village in the Pyrenees brings something special to the film. We find the southern accent in actors who are not professional for the most part. All of this creates a very particular universe to the film, and gives off a certain lightness, as if this small village had no link with the rest of the world. We can also notice that the two directors seem to have bathed in horror cinema. Throughout the film, they use certain codes of classic horror cinema, between a simple homage and a real scenaristic utility, these different sequences work very well. However, I would have liked the film to focus more on horror, to see how far the mastery of the Boukherma brothers goes in this genre.
Thanks to the impressive performance of Anthony Bajon and the superb work of the young Boukherma brothers and their team, “Teddy” is a real comic, dramatic and fantastic success. However, this comic success taints the horrific aspect of the film. It will be interesting to follow the next work of Anthony and Zoran Boukherma, who look very promising.