French comedy/thriller Stéphane from filmmakers Timothée Hochet and Lucas Pastor is a mockumentary about aspiring short-film director Timothée (Bastien Garcia) and Stéphane (Pastor), the unaware subject of Timothée’s documentary about “a loser.” The pair meet randomly while Timothée is shooting a short film, with Stéphane volunteering to provide some pyrotechnics. One red flag after another about Stéphane goes up and eventually Timothée finds himself staying the night on Stéphane’s private boat before sailing to the latter’s island home.
Why Timothée would want to get further involved with the obviously strange Stéphane is a valid question, but this being both a comedy and a thriller, poor decisions make sense to advance this story, and to send things into weirder and more disturbing territory. Both characters are full of themselves in different ways, and lines are blurred about just who is in charge of the crazy wartime-themed short that Timothée wants to complete for a film festival.
Hochet and Pastor deliver a riff on found-footage fear fare that offers plenty of uncomfortable humor — along with a few shots at pretentious filmmakers — with a disturbing performance from Pastor, and Garcia playing a beta male that allows himself to be continuously manipulated by an unhinged person because of the hollow promise of completing a film.
Stéphane, from Blue Finch Film Releasing, had its world premiere screening as part of Beyond Fest, which took place in Los Angeles from September 26–October 10, 2022.