Dominik Moll on Only the Animals: 'By trying things that are not super conventional you can achieve something interesting'
- James Mottram
- 26 May 2020
The Franco-German director discusses his engrossing mystery, which will be available to stream on Curzon Home Cinema from 29 May
Having opened the Venice Days section of the 2019 Venice Film Festival, Franco-German director Dominik Moll's non-linear thriller Only the Animals will soon be arriving on Curzon Home Cinema for audiences to watch at home. The engrossing mystery, which follows five strangers who are unknowingly caught up in the death of a woman in southern France, reveals unexpected connections and consequences as the story unfolds and spans the globe. We caught up with Moll to find out more about the film and its backstory.
Only the Animals is an adaptation of the book by Colin Niel. What did you like about the story?
I think what I felt when I read the book – it is a genre film. It's a mystery thriller. Somebody disappears – what happens? – which is always a good vehicle for story. But it wasn't only that. You have all those characters, all in a very strange, or peculiar or clumsy way, trying to search for an ideal of love – sometimes with a corpse, sometimes with a person who exists on the Internet.
One of those characters is Michel, who gets 'catfished' over the web. What made you cast Denis Ménochet as him?
When we were writing the screenplay, I saw Custody, which he played in, which I loved. And I immediately saw him as Michel.
Were the Coens an influence on you, particularly Fargo, when writing this?
Well, I like the work of the Coen Brothers. With Fargo, there is the snow obviously, which we have a lot of! There's also I think something in the characters, who are very simple, like also in Fargo – where they are not particularly bright, except the policewoman. But you are with them in a way, even if they do stupid things.
You've often taken experimental paths – like in your earlier film Lemming. Is that an important trait to have?
Yes, of course – by trying things that are not super conventional you can achieve something interesting. That's also why the adaptation of this book was interesting to me – it was a story structure that I had never experienced. I had always done very chronological stories with one main character. In order to renew yourself and continue taking pleasure in making films, you have to experiment and try out new things. Hopefully then the public will like them, but you never know.
Available to watch on Curzon Home Cinema from Fri 29 May.