La Bête dans la jungle

The Beast in the Jungle
It begins at the end of the 1970s, amidst the glittering nights of a club as a place of endless (im)possibilities and the timeless clockwork of a city. This is where John and May are waiting for an extraordinary, all-changing moment to occur. Around them, everything is loud and in motion, while they hold out in silence. Twenty-five years pass as they follow world events on their cathode-ray tube television set: Mitterrand’s term in office, the AIDS crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11. John’s obsessive watching and waiting for this one big event to happen becomes a monster, and May is his long-suffering accomplice. From 1979 to 2004: from disco to techno. Fashions, movements and drugs change as they dance against time which passes by more and more quickly. Lost among others yet alone together, the two continue to observe the world from the sidelines. If only it were love.
Patric Chiha transposes the couple from Henry James’s short story “The Beast in the Jungle” to the club, and contrasts their fateful waiting with the ultimate feeling of being-in-the-moment and the dancers’ hedonistic desire to dissolve time in everlasting choreographies.
by Patric Chiha
with Anaïs Demoustier, Tom Mercier, Béatrice Dalle, Martin Vischer, Sophie Demeyer, Pedro Cabanas, Mara Taquin, Bachir Tlili
France / Belgium / Austria 2023 French 103’ Colour World premiere


  • Anaïs Demoustier (May)
  • Tom Mercier (John)
  • Béatrice Dalle (La Physionomiste)
  • Martin Vischer (Pierre)
  • Sophie Demeyer (Alice)
  • Pedro Cabanas (Monsieur Pipi)
  • Mara Taquin (Céline)
  • Bachir Tlili (Yacine)


Director Patric Chiha
Screenplay Patric Chiha, Axelle Ropert, Jihane Chouaib based on the short story of the same name by Henry James
Cinematography Céline Bozon
Editing Karina Ressler, Julien Lacheray
Music Yelli Yelli, Dino Spiluttini, Florent Charissoux
Sound Design Mikaël Barre
Sound Atanas Tcholakov
Production Design Eve Martin
Costumes Claire Dubien
Make-Up Lila Vander Elst
Producers Charlotte Vincent, Katia Khazak
Co-Producers Cassandre Warnauts, Jean-Yves Roubin, Ebba Sinzinger, Vincent Lucassen
Co-Production Frakas Productions Lüttich
WILDart Film Wien

Patric Chiha

Born in Vienna, Austria in 1975, he studied fashion design in Paris and then film editing at the INSAS film school in Brussels. His short and documentary films have screened at several festivals. His feature film debut Domaine, starring Béatrice Dalle, premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. His documentary Brothers of the Night screened in the 2016 Panorama.

Filmography (selection)

2004 Casa Ugalde; short film · Casa ugalde; short film 2005 Les messieurs (The Gentlemen); documentary · Les Messieurs (The Gentlemen); documentary 2006 Home; short film · Home 2007 0ù se trouve le chef de la prison?; short film · Où se trouve le chef de la prison? (Where is the Head of the Prison?); short film 2009 Domaine (Domain) · Domaine 2014 Boys Like Us 2016 Brüder der Nacht (Brothers of the Night); documentary, Panorama · Brüder der Nacht (Brothers of the Night); documentary 2019 Si c’était de l’amour (If It Were Love); documentary · Si c’était de l’amour (If it were love); documentary, Panorama 2023 La Bête dans la jungle (The Beast in the Jungle)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023