Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
France, 1999. 3B Productions, Arte France Cinema, C.R.R.A.V, Canal+, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Pictanovo Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Procirep. Screenplay by Bruno Dumont. Cinematography by Yves Cape. Produced by Rachid Bouchareb, Jean Brehat. Music by Richard Cuvillier. Production Design by Marc-Philippe Guerig. Costume Design by Nathalie Raoul. Film Editing by Guy Lecorne. Cannes Film Festival 1999. European Film Awards 1999. Toronto International Film Festival 1999.
Terribly boring detective thriller that stars non-professional actors who have never performed before, about a murder of a young girl in a small town and the overly intense police detective (Emmanuel Schotté) who investigates the crime. Throughout most of the film’s running time, Schotte watches his two neighbours (Séverine Caneele and Philippe Tullier) have incredibly graphic sex and then goes out to dinner with them as they sit and stare at each other for hours on end. At some point he also composes a pop tune on his synthesizer to beat the depression of what he’s going through (you know I couldn’t possibly make this stuff up). It would be easy to say that the graphic sex and constant, unappealing nudity is completely unnecessary, but after a while it becomes obvious that this whole film is completely unnecessary. Dumont hasn’t discovered any kind of subtlety with his film, he just keeps everything quiet and slow, which unfortunately for him isn’t the same thing. His flat performers find nothing beneath the surface of their actions, nor does the story reveal anything about characters or the nature of the crime that makes the experience rewarding.
The Criterion Collection: #981