Making use of locals instead of professional actors lends authenticity to this impressive look at a group of otherwise innocuous teenage lads in a boring northern French town (Bailleul in Flanders), driven to violence by a mixture of boredom, jealousy, macho pride and ingrained racism. Essentially it's a work of low key 'realism' in the Bressonian tradition (albeit less obviously 'spiritual'), though it includes odd touches, such as the local marching band's unexpectedly dissonant music, and a couple of brief sequences (involving body doubles) so sexually frank they look like out-takes from Ai No Corrida. Perhaps strangest of all is that the protagonist's girlfriend seems for most of the film to be the only young female in town, but that's a very minor criticism when compared to writer/director Dumont's tough, confident handling of mood, milieu, pace, performance and theme.
La Vie de Jésus
Cast and crew