Directed by: Bruno Dumont
Countries & Regions: France
Length: 91 mins
Released: 4 October 2010
Cat No: SODA048
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 5.1
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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
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.