(aka "Humanité" or "Humanity")

 

directed by Bruno Dumont
France 1999

I think Dumont’s film is unfinished in the sense that some paintings are; that is, some parts of the “canvas” are only sketched in while other parts are fully realized. As a mannerist portrait of a few individuals, it’s often amazing; as a spiritual statement about suffering in the contemporary world, it almost lives up to its title; for its blunt depictions of sex, it’s about as carnal in an unvarnished way as filmmaking can get; and as a visual rendering of an area of northern France (Dumont’s hometown, also the setting of his first feature, The Life of Jesus), it’s pretty impressive. But as a police procedural, it’s unsatisfying, far from being worked out in all its details.

Some of the details are even in direct conflict with some of the virtues I listed. For one thing, as Dumont pointed out in an interview with Toronto critic Mark Peranson, the film doesn’t qualify in any way as “realist,” though the nonprofessional actors and the locations may occasionally foster that impression—and lead one to expect a verisimilitude in the plot and the psychology of the characters that the film doesn’t furnish.

There’s nothing wrong about any of this. Given Dumont’s Dostoyevsky-like ambitions, it’s the most honorable sort of failing imaginable. Yet because it’s a movie and not a painting or a symphony, this failing has made some people angry. Last year a Cannes jury headed by David Cronenberg awarded L’humanité the grand jury prize and awards for best actor (Emmanuel Schotte) and actress (Severine Caneele, in a tie with Rosetta’s Emilie Duquenne), and the international press was scandalized. That both Schotte and Caneele were nonprofessionals contributed to the outrage, but other issues relating to “professionalism” were also at play—above all, conformity to genre expectations. The dramatic payoff in Dostoyevsky is hardly the same thing as the dramatic payoff in a serial-killer mystery, and anyone looking for the latter clearly felt cheated.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE.

Theatrical Release: France 17 May 1999 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg for the Screen Caps!

(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Fox Lorber
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 2:21:35 (4% PAL speedup) 2:21:30
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

Fox Lorber

 

NOT AVAILABLE

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Production notes (6 pages)
• Filmographie (1 page)

DVD Release Date: 22 May 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Fox Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (01:02 / letterbox)
• Intreview with Bruno Dumont (16:40)
• Production credits (3 pages)
 

DVD Release Date: February 13, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters

 

 

Comments It seems that both have used the same source material. The benefit goes to the Artificial-Eye DVD. It's sharper, the picture is a little bit brighter (more details), and maybe the color timing has more blue in it. The Fox Lorber DVD is also slightly cropped on both sides, and
is taken from a PAL source, bringing visible combing and ghosting. On a projector these things makes a big difference.


 

Even tough the DD 2.0 sound is quite equal, in my system the AE disc had more detail and was more dynamic. The difference is about the same as in the picture.

The yellow subtitles on the Fox Lorber disc are ugly and quite large. The AE disc uses a smaller white font.

Artificial-Eye is, as usual, arrogant in the supplement apartment, as if these film didn't make any questions to be answered. It's a shame that the disc don't have any extra material. I feel the short interview with Bruno Dumont on the Fox Lorber disc is very useful.

 - Per-Olof Strandberg

 

 



DVD Menus

(
Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Example of 'Combing' and 'Ghosting' artifacts on the NTSC (FoxLorber) DVD

 

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Fox Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Artificial Eye

Sound:

Artificial Eye

Extras: Fox Lorber
Menu: Artificial Eye

 
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Fox Lorber
Region 0 - NTSC


 




 

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