On the road of accidental connections, where ephemeral friendships ignite then flicker, a very tall man drives a very small blue Fiat 500, saying nothing at all: a lifetime trait, perhaps.

Yet the facial elasticity of Belfast-born actor Ciarán Hinds, a fedora upon his head, speaks volumes as he plays an innocent, unnamed character at the wheel, eyes wide to serendipitous experience along the bucolic countryside of Cévennes in south-central France.

The Man in the Hat The Man in the Hat

Oscar-winning British film composer Stephen Warbeck’s directorial debut feature The Man in the Hat,which he has also scored, is a mostly silent work in the manner of a Jacques Tati classic, with only snatches of overheard dialogue.

This childlike man unwittingly witnesses a mafia gang of five bald men dump a body in the water, who then give chase in a rickety Citroën. Then, he meets a dour chap in a wet business suit: the “damp man” (Stephen Dillane) may have tried to throw himself into a river, who can say?

Later, alone in his car, our naïve hero is...