When a young girl is brutally raped and murdered in a quiet French village, a police detective starts investigating the crime, which turns the whole community upside-down. The detective, a humble man burdened with the wrongdoing of others, slowly divulges his despair and the dread of his own guilt.
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Perhaps this asks questions of the viewer's relationship to the provinces and the working classes; the muted members of society. The quietude is explosive, giving all possibilities but choosing only one - this conversly makes the simple lives more mysterious, profound. Does the film emerge coherently from Courbet's "L'Origine du monde", Duchamp's "Étant donnés"?
Essential cinema. Dumont's second feature was a 3 time award winner at Cannes including the Grand Prix and two acting awards for its non-professional leads Emmanuel Schotte (who to date has never acted again) and Severine Caneele. Scripting was excellent with an understory of a child's murder being supplanted within the lives of a triangle of damaged people. Miserable, sexually frank and disturbing but mesmerizing.
I found the movie to be captivating,ive never seen a film that forces the viewer to slow down and watch lifes intricacies ,I found it a refreshing change from the big Hollywood films that force you to speed up.
I also applaud the male and female leads on sterling performances.
What I think first drew me to the early Dumonts was a combination of the flagrantly picturesque and fantastically grotesque married to epic miserablism. Miserablism? Clearly I had not adequately allowed these movies to teach me how to watch them. In the wake of a couple Dumont comedies, I now see that 'touched' non-actor Emmanuel Schotté is equal parts Buster Keaton and Andy Kaufman, and the curious core of HUMANITÉ.
This is a film that gently reveals itself. His direction is masterful, because he uses non-actors and really knows how to get great performances from them. I'd say he's definitely better than Bresson in that aspect. There's so much to this movie that lies beneath the surface that you might not pick up the first time.
Cinema Verite as the Anthropological Experience. Regulated humanism; memorium time capsules of inhabitable analyses. Thankful I am to transcendental historians - like Dumont, Denis, Costa, and Reygadas - for their patient exposures. Cinema as the way of the Historian.