The deer in the photo doesn’t indicate a return of Northern Exposure, but of the hit French supernatural drama The Returned. Welcome to The Returned: Chapter 2, which has its international premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF).
Television at TIFF?
As a matter of fact, oui. The first two episodes of The Returned: Chapter 2 (Les Revenants: Chapitre 2) will screen as a part of TIFF‘s inaugural Primetime, the Festival’s new program dedicated to “high-quality television programs from around the globe.”
Primetime “presents the best in international television on the big screen, channeling the powerful, small-screen serial storytelling coming from broadcasters, streaming services and independent filmmakers.”
In addition to The Returned: Chapter 2, the other titles screening during TIFF’s Primetime 2015 are CROMO from Argentina, Trapped from Iceland, and Casual, Heroes Reborn, and Keith Richards: Under the Influence from the US.
TIFF’s premiere of The Returned: Chapter 2 comes roughly three years after the International Emmy Awards, Globes de Cristal Awards, and Peabody Awards-winning The Returned (Les Revenants) debuted on France’s Canal+. Why has it taken so long to bring the continuation of the story to the screen?
According to Fabrice de la Patellière, Véra Peltekian, and Pierre Saint-André, from the Department of French Drama at Canal+, “[W]e sought to avoid reproducing a formula, and that’s no doubt why it required time. Nobody involved in this adventure wanted to drop their guard, starting with the producers who always believed that the success of The Returned was indicative of increasingly high standards.”
They certainly set the bar high in the first season. How much higher will it go in Chapter 2? We shall see. But first, let’s look at what we can expect story-wise:
Six months have passed since the Returned gathered at the Helping Hand shelter one night, before disappearing into the mountains with Simon, Camille and her mother Claire, along with Julie and the mysterious boy Victor. Since then, nothing has been heard from them, or from the gendarmes who tried to protect the town’s residents at the shelter.
Part of the town is still flooded, the dam is now under surveillance, and the army is providing logistical support to the inhabitants who decided to stay. One of them is Adèle, who is about to give birth to Simon’s child.
Rumors are spreading about the return of the dead, but the authorities don’t take them seriously. Meanwhile, the townspeople who had witnessed what happened are staying mum. Witnesses such as Léna and her father Jérôme, who are still intent on finding their missing family members, the living dead Camille and (as far as we know) the very much alive Claire.
Then a stranger arrives in town. A man named Berg, who seems to know much more than he’s letting on.
And what the living don’t know is that the Returned haven’t gone away. Rather, they have been unable to leave the Valley, so they have taken refuge in an abandoned estate, in an area on the edge of town that has been made inaccessible by the flooding. They are still holding Julie, Victor, Camille, and Claire, who have had to get used to a refugee lifestyle.
Then a new wave of resurrections occurs…
Created by Fabrice Gobert (Simon Werner a disparu), The Returned: Chapter 2 stars Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Céline Sallette, Fédéric Pierrot, Laurent Lucas, Grégory Gadebois, Guillaume Gouix, Pierre Perrier, Ana Girardot, Yara Pilartz, Jenna Thiam, Swann Nambotin, and Jean-François Sivadier. The series premieres on television in its native France on Canal+ this autumn.
The 40th Toronto International Film Festival opens 20 days from today, and runs from 10-20 September 2015.