L’Humanite (Dumont, 1999)

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An exercise in extreme patience, Bruno Dumont’s epically slow police procedural L’Humanite paints a picture of psychological instability so grim, so emotionless, one forgets about the heinous crime at its center. Dumont’s fractured protagonist De Winter, the lead detective investigating the rape and murder of an 11 year old girl in rural France, wonders through each scene like a glacial ghost haunting a world which doesn’t care about his existence. Dumont’s pacing will challenge even the greatest proponent of the art film, however, his wide-screen visual approach remains fascinating since it reflects a devastating menace toward intimacy and violence. L’Humanite, for all it’s European film-making aesthetics, uses a drastic, ridiculous, and all together Hollywood twist to put the previous 2+ hours into perspective. Cop out or revelation?

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