Screen can reveal a first international trailer for French director Quentin Dupieux’s surreal comedy road movie Mandibles ahead of its world premiere out of competition at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday (Sept 5).

French comedy duo Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais co-star as two goofy friends who find a giant fly trapped in their car boot and decide to train it as moneymaking venture. Adèle Exarchopoulos, Coralie Russier and India Hair as well as Belgian rapper and hip hop artist Romeo Elvis join them in the cast.

It is Dupieux’s ninth feature after the off-beat Jean Dujardin horror comedy Deerskin which opened Directors’ Fortnight in 2019. Kicking off with his 2002 feature debut Nonfilm, Dupieux has built his filmmaking reputation around whacky fare with an offbeat fantasy edge. He was last in Venice with the Alain Chabat-starring comedy Reality which premiered in Horizons in 2014.

Mandibles was also announced as having been selected for this year’s edition of Telluride until the festival was forced to cancel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In the press notes for the film, Dupieux explained that Mandibles marks a departure from his previous works.

“As I finished editing Deerskin, I realised that all my films are comedies profoundly tormented by death. My work will always be permeated by the same obsessions, the same “signature”, the same sense of humour. From the beginning, I felt I was ploughing a furrow that was entirely my own: deformed realities, infinitely twisted human relationships, surrealist portraits of our society, profound and childish fantasies,” he wrote.

”With Mandibles, which fits the furrow perfectly, I’m finally abandoning death to focus on life. In Mandibles, I want to glorify the comic duo Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais, for whom I wrote it, by filming their complicity and playfulness with absolute benevolence. Mandibles is above all a genuine and sincere comedy about friendship. It’s also, thanks to the presence of a giant fly at the heart of the story, a fantasy film.”

This latest film was produced by Hugo Sélignac and Vincent Mazel at Paris-based production house Chi-Fou-Mi Productions. Its dozen past feature productions including the hit comedy Sink Or Swim and thriller Carnivores by Jérémie and Yannick Rennier.

Alexandre Mallet-Guy at French Paris-based Memento Films and Patrick Quinet at Brussels-based Artemis Productions take co-producer credits. Memento Films has taken French rights and scheduled a December 2 release. Wild Bunch and WTFilms are co-handling international sales.