Humanity

Film

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Time Out says

Exhibiting all the faults and almost none of the virtues of Dumont's earlier, far superior La Vie de Jésus, this is again set in an unrelentingly glum Pas de Calais, where Schotté's police lieutenant investigates the murder of a young girl whose mutilated body he's found in a field. The notion, that he's an ordinary, unremarkable man whose tendency to take the world's suffering - and sins - on his own shoulders makes him a latter-day saint, has a certain Bressonian appeal, but the clumsy performances (by local amateurs), the slow, faltering pace, and Dumont's seeming ignorance of the most basic police procedures (finger-printing, DNA, cross-examination, deduction) make for a turgid, pretentious and sometimes risibly implausible film.
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Release details

UK release:

1999

Duration:

148 mins

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Technoguy

L’Humanite is a profound meditation on the meaning of existence and the nature of film. Dumont situates the film in Balleul,the Flanders area of NE France,a coastal village.Nothing you have ever seen will prepare you for the slow drawn-out physicality of this provincial,rural backwater and the dull bleakness of its denizens.We start with a figure of a man running on the horizon from left to right filmed in wide screen.He is our eponymous main character,Pharaon de Winter, the policeman in charge of the investigation of the rape,violation and murder of an 11 year old girl. We have graphic images of her mutilated vagina with ants crawling over it. We dwell in the policeman’s field of perception from when he throws himself in the mud at his shock at what he has seen to his screaming to let out tension drowned out by a passing train. He nuzzles criminals as if out of empathy.De Winter(Scotte) lost his wife and child 2 years ago, whether they left him or were killed in an accident we do not know.He lives with his mother who treats him like an overgrown schoolboy. He is friends with his neighbour Domino(Severine) , a factoryworker, whose boyfriend,Joseph, a loutish bus driver, has rough sex with her.There is no tenderness in their spiritless love-making. Pharaon longs for closeness with Domino, not necessarily sexual.. He often stands outside his house leaning against the wall watching the passing world with his large mournful eyes talking to Domino with her sweaty sleeveless blouse which shouts sex. Pharaon needs to be touched and needs affection and she is sensitive to this.He often tags along with her and Joseph when they go out to the coast or to a restaurant,often putting up with all kinds of insults from Joseph lording it over him.Joseph breaks the law,Pharaon implodes with self-loathing. The investigation is very slow and meanders like the droopy-headed,shoulder-slumped Pharaon. Domino offers her body to him only for him to run like a virginal schoolboy.He cannot separate memories of the dead,raped girl with Domino’s body.He is a lost soul with the patience of a Saint but without the drive and logical mind of a policeman. There are hints dropped that Pharaon may be the killer. The leading actors are non-professionals, who embody what they want to communicate.This film is not a police procedural and is not about the solution of murder and this may disappoint the normal viewer.Pharaon’s purpose is not to detect but more to bear witness to Being.You’ll not forget his mournful,depressive,blank features for a long time. Dumont is in the class of Bresson and using non-professionals his aim has been to bring back the body into cinema with all the sensations,physicality and overlapping of the senses and perceptions involved in that,though this may lead to a sense of stasis and unreality to some,it’s unique and effective and will most certainly awaken you to a new force in cinema.

Technoguy

L’Humanite is a profound meditation on the meaning of existence and the nature of film. Dumont situates the film in Balleul,the Flanders area of NE France,a coastal village.Nothing you have ever seen will prepare you for the slow drawn-out physicality of this provincial,rural backwater and the dull bleakness of its denizens.We start with a figure of a man running on the horizon from left to right filmed in wide screen.He is our eponymous main character,Pharaon de Winter, the policeman in charge of the investigation of the rape,violation and murder of an 11 year old girl. We have graphic images of her mutilated vagina with ants crawling over it. We dwell in the policeman’s field of perception from when he throws himself in the mud at his shock at what he has seen to his screaming to let out tension drowned out by a passing train. He nuzzles criminals as if out of empathy.De Winter(Scotte) lost his wife and child 2 years ago, whether they left him or were killed in an accident we do not know.He lives with his mother who treats him like an overgrown schoolboy. He is friends with his neighbour Domino(Severine) , a factoryworker, whose boyfriend,Joseph, a loutish bus driver, has rough sex with her.There is no tenderness in their spiritless love-making. Pharaon longs for closeness with Domino, not necessarily sexual.. He often stands outside his house leaning against the wall watching the passing world with his large mournful eyes talking to Domino with her sweaty sleeveless blouse which shouts sex. Pharaon needs to be touched and needs affection and she is sensitive to this.He often tags along with her and Joseph when they go out to the coast or to a restaurant,often putting up with all kinds of insults from Joseph lording it over him.Joseph breaks the law,Pharaon implodes with self-loathing. The investigation is very slow and meanders like the droopy-headed,shoulder-slumped Pharaon. Domino offers her body to him only for him to run like a virginal schoolboy.He cannot separate memories of the dead,raped girl with Domino’s body.He is a lost soul with the patience of a Saint but without the drive and logical mind of a policeman. There are hints dropped that Pharaon may be the killer. The leading actors are non-professionals, who embody what they want to communicate.This film is not a police procedural and is not about the solution of murder and this may disappoint the normal viewer.Pharaon’s purpose is not to detect but more to bear witness to Being.You’ll not forget his mournful,depressive,blank features for a long time. Dumont is in the class of Bresson and using non-professionals his aim has been to bring back the body into cinema with all the sensations,physicality and overlapping of the senses and perceptions involved in that,though this may lead to a sense of stasis and unreality to some,it’s unique and effective and will most certainly awaken you to a new force in cinema.