Les Premiers, les derniers


North American Premiere • Comedy/Crime/Romance • France, 2016

DCP • 2.35 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 98 min

Directed by: Bouli Lanners

Written by: Bouli Lanners

Cinematography: Jean-Paul De Zaeytijd

Film Editing: Ewin Ryckaert

Original Score: Pascal Humbert

Produced by: ADCB Films, Prime Time, VOO, BE TV, RTBF, Versus Production

Cast: Albert Dupontel (Cochise), Bouli Lanners (Gilou), Suzanne Clément (Clara), Michael Lonsdale (Jean-Berchmans) 

International Sales: Wild Bunch

Elements of the western and the gothic thriller come together in this darkly absurd conceptual one-off. Set amidst the industrial ruins of a flatland vast enough to swallow men whole, Cochise and Gilou, a pair of grizzled bounty hunters, have been hired by a wealthy stranger to obtain a phone that holds some critical information. The phone is in the possession of Esther and Willy, a homeless young couple. Whenever they turn the phone on, Cochise and Gilou can get a lead on their whereabouts, but the feckless lovers don’t have much need for phones. They believe the end-times have begun, an unlikely proposition seemingly corroborated by the appearance of a gaunt, bearded man calling himself Jesus. As the chase develops, straightforward genre elements give way to more metaphorical and thematic concerns. In this singular and deeply personal universe, everyone, including a craggy undertaker played by Max Von Sydow, seems uprooted, set adrift in his/her own way.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the fourth feature of Belgian actor/writer/director Bouli Lanners has a painterly look;  Lanners’ first calling was to fine arts and painting, although it was as an actor that Lanners found the success that opened doors for him. Over the last two decades, he has established himself as a character actor in dozens of films. In 2006 he made his first feature Ultranova, followed by Eldorado (2008), which took the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight. A road movie about a heroin addict and a lonely car dealer who end up unlikely companions, the film was Lanners’ first to draw visual inspiration from the Western canon. Lanners’ third film, the Belgium-set, coming-of-age comedy, The Giants (2011), won the SACD Prize at Cannes. Throughout his directing career, Lanners has nurtured a creative collaboration with cinematographer Jean-Paul de Zaetijd, making for films that recall Lanners’ underpinnings as a painter. In fact it was a single image, glimpsed from a passing train that planted the seed for this film. The First, The Last took its international bow in the Panorama section of the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.         



“Film aficionados will definitely want to catch this any way they can.”

–  Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

“…the direction is near faultless. Creating an atmosphere deeply ominous and unnerving.”

– Thomas Unsted, The Upcoming