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France 1999. Dir: Bruno Dumont. 148 min. 35mm

“A haunting, disturbing, daring — and misunderstood — masterpiece.”

“One of the best films of the last ten years.”

35mm PRINT | An unforgettable work of beautiful, brave, neo-Bressonian cinema, L’Humanité was philosophy-professor-turned-filmmaker Bruno Dumont’s controversial follow-up to the acclaimed La vie de Jésus (also screening). Set in the same economically-depressed region of northern France, it casts non-professional Emmanuel Schotté (Best Actor, Cannes) as a pensive, small-town cop investigating the horrible sex murder of a little girl. Non-professional Séverine Caneele (Best Actress, Cannes) is the lusty neighbour to whom he is attracted. Dumont’s outré art film, as spare as it is spectacular, unfolds in hypnotic, contemplative, anti-thriller form, marrying majestic vistas, intense close-ups, hyper-realism, and frank, graphic sex — all couched in Christian symbolism, all evoking a palpable physicality. What emerges is not so much the investigation of a murder as an inquiry into the larger mysteries of evil, suffering, transcendence, existence. Met with outrage when it won the Grand Prix at Cannes, Dumont’s sophomore film is, in our humble opinion, the final masterwork of the last millennium!

Print courtesy Cinémathèque québécoise.



"Breathtaking ... One of the 20 best films of 2000."

Film Comment | full review

"Brave, ambitious, difficult, and highly memorable."

Chicago Reader | full review