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dir. Bruno Dumont / France 2006 / 91’
subtitles: Polish and English


Adélaïde Leroux, Samuel Boidin, Henri Cretel, Jean-Marie Bruveart, David Poulain, Patrice Venant


Cannes IFF 2006 – Grand Prize of the Jury; Yerevan IFF 2007 – Jury Special Diploma

Film description

Dumont abandons the austere Bressonian aesthetics whose locations and characters are mere symbols observed from a distance. He turns instead to violent images of brutality and cruelty that communicate his vision far more unequivocally. Life in a lonely Flanders village is confronted by warfare in a hot, dusty desert. The protagonists in Flanders are two young men competing for the favours of a promiscuous girl from their village. They enlist to fight for a good cause only to go through the hellish ruthlessness of war in a place far away from home. In the meantime, the girl left in the rainy, chilly surroundings of Flanders goes through her own hell: one of madness, suffering and isolation – less violent than the war, but just as unbearable.

Dumont tears off layer after layer of the conventional romantic ideas of love, bravery, courage and justice. Human instincts manifest themselves in many ways, including sex and killing. The final triumph of emotion, so fragile compared to the nihilistic vision of man that Dumont presents earlier, may be either fact or fiction – either way, it is what we want to believe in.

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