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.
Much to admire but also a feat of endurance - I have to admit the glacial pacing defeated me at times and I found it difficult to decide whether I was watching a masterpiece or indulgent tosh. Either way, this is bold provocative film-making, rich in ideas and uncompromising in its commitment to ambiguity and suggestion over explication. The central performances fully deserve the praise they received at Cannes.
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"?
Profound allegory where some will definitely find references to spiritualism, sanctity or even the life of Jesus. It constantly juxtaposes a form of wholesome pure compassionate grieving love against a more terrenal one. Dumont demands labour & attention as the film trudges seemingly without aim arguably failing to develop more complex dimensions around its lead characters, here an outstanding non-professional cast.
Quite difficult to describe this film. The slow pace and the long contemplative shots mirroring the look of the main character set the tone right from the beginning. Because all of us at some point look at things in a way like we need to absorve them as part of the world we live in and what we are. Amazing performance from the main actor. Not an easy film to watch but certainly rewarding, from my point of view.
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.
At what point does Pharoan start to "investigate the crime"? I gave up waiting after 30 minutes of tedium. Why is lethargic (boring) story-telling equated with greatness in French cinema (and too often on Mubi)? What does 2 minutes of him cycling followed by an anine conversation with an old man about his bike, followed by him choking on an apple, tell me about the character, the story? Dull!
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.