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Film Details

Directed by: Bruno Dumont

Produced: 2006

Countries & Regions: France

DVD Details

Certificate: 18

Length: 91 mins

Format: DVD

Released: 4 October 2010

Cat No: SODA048

Extras:
Anamorphic (16:9)
Languages(s): French
Subtitles: English
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 5.1

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Flanders

Cast: Adelaide Leroux , Samuel Boidin , Henri Cretel , Jean-Marie Bruveart , David Poulain , Patrice Venant , David Legay , Inge Decaesteker

DVD
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Bruno Dumont directs this French WWI drama starring Samuel Boidin as Demester, an emotionally inarticulate young farmhand who is in love... Read More

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Bruno Dumont directs this French WWI drama starring Samuel Boidin as Demester, an emotionally inarticulate young farmhand who is in love with pretty young village girl Barbe (Adelaide Leroux), but finds it difficult to express his feelings for her in any way apart from sex. Frustrated by her lover’s inability to show her affection, Barbe looks for love elsewhere, and Demester is horrified when he discovers the nature of her relationship with Blondel (Henri Cretel). When the two men are called up to fight in the war, they find themselves posted to the same place - an unnamed location in the Middle East - where the brutality and horror of war erodes their humanity, and contrasts starkly with their quiet rural existence at home. Meanwhile, back in France, Barbe discovers that she is pregnant with Blondel’s child, and her already fragile emotional state threatens to escalate into a total nervous breakdown. The film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

French maverick Bruno Dumont is not the cheeriest of fellows. Much like Bresson, he demands performances of such scant expression from his non-professional actors that their characters seem to have no inner life. The result, in La Vie de Jésus and L’Humanité, are depictions of humanity at its most rudimentary, often basest level.

It was only a matter of time before Dumont made a war film. This follows the fortunes of a Flanders farmer, Demester (Samuel Boidin) sent to fight in an unspecified desert conflict, where his most barbaric instincts are acted upon, most horribly in a gang rape. At home, his childhood love Barbe (Adelaïde Leroux) wilts under the pressure of family history and loneliness and starts to lose her sanity.

It’s a troubling film, whose minimalist battle scenes are matched in their horror by the protagonists’ unreal inability to express themselves. Thus Dumont posits the seeds of wartime atrocity in the emotional deficiencies of ordinary people in their daily lives. But this time the downbeat view is, surprisingly, relieved at the eleventh hour.

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