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Archive for November, 2009

Oeuvre Rated

Benoit

For Halloween this year, we decided to stay home at watch one of our favorite French movies… about Murder!

 

“Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” As America flounders in a never-ending sandstorm of Franco-phobia, there’s never been a better time to embrace the oft forgotten art of French cinema.

Possibly the most controversial product to come out of Gaul since escargot, and probably the darkest comedy to hit the silver screen since the discovery of piezoelectricity, “Man Bites Dog” — directed by Remy Belvaux and Andre Bonzel and starring Benoit Poelvoorde — leaves you half way between begging for mercy and crying for more.

With all the shenanigans of Albert Camus and twice the passion of Maximilian Robespierre, “Man Bites Dog” puts your savoir-vivre to the ultimate test. Imagine “Spinal Tap” meets “Natural Born Killers.” Poelvoorde’s inspiring performance as a modern day Jacques the Ripper on a suburban reign of terror grips you like a two-dollar bottle of Bordeaux and sends you floating face down on the river Seine.

Stalking the streets and housing projects of Paris in search of innocent victims — preferably the old and the defenseless — our anti-heroic protagonist turns his line of work into something of an art form. So proud is he of his technique that he hires a camera crew to follow him around and document his exploits for posterity. But of course, those who kill by the celluloid are destined to die by it as well.

Leaving no sacred cow unturned, this iconoclastic tour-de-farce assaults your senses with moral ambiguity and gratuitous exhibitionism, calling into question the very purpose of film making itself. Not since Fellini’s “8 1/2” has any director so graphically explored the sensational ego trip that can be taken on either side of the camera’s eye.

(1993; 92 minutes: Black and White; on DVD and VHS; not suitable for the politically correct or those with heart conditions.)

 

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