Luc Lang ‘La Tentation’

I mean, has he got a job? besides toting a gun?
It’s not like that! He’s a business man. He works hard.
That’s convenient. Business. It spares you the details. Aquisitions, sales, mergers, take-overs, sucking dry, bankrupting, opening, closing, dividing up, selling off. What a tough job…..
My poor dad, you just haven’t got a clue.***

Luc Lang’s Temptation, winner of the “Prix Medicis”, tells a story of the birds coming home to roost, what is it about Francois’ family? As the story opens, Francois, a surgeon and highly experienced hunter is out in the mountains close to the french italian border hunting a buck he has been following for several years and at the moment of pulling the trigger, a lack of concentration and his high tech rifle puts a bullet in the animals thigh, missing its heart. He then makes an unnatural decision, he tracks the animal, takes if back to his mountain lodge, removes the bullet and lets the animal go. Is he secretly sick of killing these animals?

His wife who is in love with him is unable to spend time with him, she goes from religious establishment to religious establishment from silent retreat to silent retreat. His son Mathew has become rich, the alpha male in the money markets and has hitched his sister Mathilde up with one of his shady clients as illustrated in the opening quote of a discussion between François and his daughter Mathilde. Mathilde who turns up unannounced at the hunting lodge with her partner, Loïc, after a shooting and he in the near dark mistakes the very buck François had saved for a gunman. Why is is daughter mixed up with this man? Blind to the danger? Now hunted.

And he kills the deer to close the cycle…..
Are you back with your deer again! Whereas François had shot his share, of deer, throughout his time as a hunter, and that it disgusted Mathilde, as a child, the assassination of all of those nice animals, the blood, the empty eyes, the deer and the boar, she wanted to be princess Mononoke.***

In the midst of the turmoil he receives an urgent call from his son at his hotel to come and get his wife as they, Mathew and his top mmodel wife, need to leave, then arrived at the hotel, amidst more family revelations he draws Mathew aside:

Well, Mathew, are you going to come out with it?
What? What are you….?
Who is he for god’s sake your Loïc? Your client. Mathilda’s bloke?
What the hell, it’s some sort of obsession you’ve got! you’re stuck in the same groove since yesterday….I should never have…..
He’s at the lodge with your sister.
Oh! She brought him to meet you then. She must have really wanted you to meet him because she hates the lodge in winter.
The problem Mathew, is that he’s got a large calibre bullet in his thigh, that he’s going around with a gun, that Mathilda is scared out of her mind and that your guy doesn’want me to take him to hospital. Do you understand now?***

François’ world of hard work and skill to get on is being replaced here by the temptation of easy money and no concience. He doesn’t seem to realise that his own life as a hunter, the instant gratification of the kill, deciding on life and death, may have been one of the reasons for his families demise, leading to this climax as the cheated come looking for Loïc.

Wonderful descriptions of nature and of this family in free fall.

First Published in French as “Tentation” in 2019 by Stock
*** my translation

The quotes as read in French before translation

Et il abat le cerf pour achever le cycle de….
Tu remets ça avec ton cerf! Alors que François en avait tiré, des cerfs, durant toute son existence de chasseur, que ça dégoûtait Mathilde, enfant, i’assassinat de toutes ces bêtes gentilles, le sang, le regard fixe, les yeux éteints,des chevreuils, des biches, des sangliers, elle voulait devenir une princesse Mononoké

Je veux dire, il a un métier? A part manier le flingue?
C’est faut! C’est un homme d’affaires. il travail beaucoup.
c’est commode. Faire des affaires.K Ca évite d’entrer dans les détails. Acheter, vendre, fusionner, absorber, assécher, ruiner, ouvrir, fermer, démembrer, revendre. c’est dur comme métier…
T’es dépasser mon pauvre papa.

Dis donc, Mathieu, tu va cracher le morceau?
quoi? De quoi tu….?
C’est qui, nom de dieu, ton Loic? Ton client, le mec de Mathilde?
Putain, mais c’est une obsession! T’es toujours en boucle depuis hier…. J’aurais jamais dû t’en…..
Il est au relais avec ta soeur.
Ah! Elle te l’a présenté alors. Elle y tenait, tu vois, parce que le relais, l’hiver,elle déteste.
Le problème Mathieu, c’est qu’il a une balle de gros calibre dans la cuisse, qu’il se balade avec un gun, que Mathilde est terrorisée et que ton gus ne veut pas que je l’emmène à l’hôpital.Est-ce que tu saisis?

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