French Film Festival UK 2013: Apaches (2013)

by Sam Inglis on 12/11/2013


Apaches has something to say.  It’s a contemporary look at a marginal community; low paid young workers in Corsica, the ways that a minority of them seek to supplement their income and how this affects their lives and their friendships.  The film focuses on a group of friends working doing up the holiday homes of affluent French families, one night an illicit party is held and items, including two guns, are stolen.  The film the dwells on how this challenges loyalties and friendships in the group, with tragic consequences.

I can’t decide whether, at 76 minutes excluding the credits, I think Apaches is too long or too short.  The film as it is feels at times mercilessly stretched, for instance the party scene at the beginning is extremely mundane and lengthy.  This wouldn’t be a problem if the film used its running time to dig into its young protagonists, but only really draws truly distinct characters after a tragic event barely twenty minutes from the end.  This is why I wonder whether, for all that it feels as though it is straining to reach feature length, Apaches wouldn’t benefit from being twenty minutes longer.

The cast seem to be non-actors, but they all acquit themselves well.  This actually makes the film all the more frustrating, for all its mundanity the first two thirds of the film capably sets up a verisimilitude through both the performances and the camera style.  This carries through into the last act, which is believably shocking but also annoyingly brief.  It seems that as soon as something truly dramatic begins to happen and begins to open up some psychological depth in the characters, which his inexperienced cast prove entirely capable of communicating, director Thierry de Peretti seems to suddenly rush for the credits, in contrast to his methodical pace in the first two acts.

Somewhere in Apaches there is potential for a relevant, intelligent and tense film, but that film wasn’t made.

Apaches is showing 12 November at Edinburgh Filmhouse, 20 November at Cine Lumiere and 28 November at Glasgow Film Theatre

Sam has awarded Apaches (2013) two Torches of Truth


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