Watch ‘Les Revenants’

Watch ‘Les Revenants’

Leigh MichaelMonday,23 June 2014

The Snap:

Netflix has served up another treat: Les Revenants (called The Returned on U.S. networks) is now up for grabs for anyone willing to shell out $8.99/month for the streaming site. The French-made program first made its debut on Canal+, then gained attention in the States thanks to a slot on Sundance.

Unfamiliar with the plot? Think zombie story… without the zombies.

The Download:

In a town tucked away in the heart of the French Alps, a girl heads home for dinner, a man goes to meet up with his fiance, and a young boy waits by a bus stop. This would be unremarkable if it weren’t for the fact that each one is already dead. Some had passed away decades ago; others just a few years before.

And so begins Les Revenants, a television series that is much less of a Walking Dead-esque zombie program than it is a nineteen episode character study. The filmmakers chose to focus on relationships — how the dead re-integrate into society, and how their family and friends come to terms with their re-appearance — rather than stressing the ‘classic’ themes in the genre. There is no listless strides and feasts where humans make up the main course.

Perhaps this is why Les Revenants was so appealing to me. I am not a zombie person, and films or television that works around the theme are generally of no interest to me. Yet this uses the convention in a totally different light. And there’s something gripping about it. Maybe it’s the sweeping landscapes, or maybe it’s the tense, convoluted relationships. Maybe it’s all of the complex, crisscrossing themes. You can get a taste of the starkly beautiful cinematography in the trailer below, but the entire series feels like a visual feast.

If reading subtitles isn’t for you (it’s all in French), then you should at least treat yourself to a listen of the soundtrack, which was composed by Scottish rock band Mogwai. You can snag the vocal-less album on iTunes or Amazon.

The second season of Les Revenants won’t be coming out until 2015, so you have plenty of time to catch up. It’s a binge-watching kind of experience, so clear out your schedule for that rainy weekend.

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Hat Tips:

MogwaiSundanceCanal+, Image Credit: Flickr



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