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John C. Reilly

French drama 'Les Cowboys' artfully reworks 'The Searchers'

French drama 'Les Cowboys' artfully reworks 'The Searchers'

“Les Cowboys,” Thomas Bidegain’s restless and emotionally bruising directorial debut, opens amid a flurry of red bandanas and blue denim, worn by men and women who have gathered to wave Stars and Stripes, and to sing and dance to their favorite folk tunes. The sights and sounds of classic Americana are so richly immersive that it’s not until after a man opens his mouth, launching into a lovely, lightly French-accented rendition of “Tennessee Waltz,” that you begin to grasp where these events are (or aren’t) taking place.

It’s the fall of 1994 in eastern France, at a festival where country-western enthusiasts have gathered to...

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