(aka "Flanders" )

 

directed by Bruno Dumont
France 2006

The winner of the Grand Prix at last year's Cannes festival, Flanders opens in northern France where Samuel Boidin's blank-faced Demester tends to his livestock, slops out the barns and has thoroughly functional, muddy sex with local lay Barbe (Adelaide Leroux). There are echoes of Andrew Kotting's This Filthy Earth (from Zola's La terre) in the air of bestial human existence, but crucially none of the passion which fired that altogether more melodramatic work. When Demester and his neighbours are called up to fight a nameless war (they don't know where it is, and neither do we) his expression hardly changes, even as rural drudgery gives way to casual slaughter, rape, castration and worse.Several scenes are shocking in their deadpan depiction of wartime brutality, but what's most alarming is the continuum which Dumont effectively conjures between the dreary routine of everyday life and the normalised horrors of this nameless conflict; the line 'a hole's a hole' may be horrible when delivered on the battlefield but its affectless sentiments have equal resonance back home in the fields of France. Only Barbe seems able to register pain, her character experiencing an almost supernatural connection with Demester and Blondel (Henri Cretel), both of whom she has serviced, and through whose unacknowledged suffering she is driven to frankly incongruous madness. It's a (false?) note of compassion in an otherwise seamlessly bleak portrait of lumpen life - a shriek of impassioned female grief amidst an awful silence of mundane male misery.

Excerpt from Mark Kermode's review at The Observer located HERE

 

Poster

Theatrical Release: France 23 May 2006 (Cannes Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg for the Review!

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Distribution

Soda Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:27:30 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.55 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0))
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Soda Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Directors Masterclass (4:3/39:57)
• Trailer Reel

DVD Release Date: 24 Sep 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 9

 

Comments:

The winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival (2007) comes from Soda Pictures in a strong DVD. The Image is crisp and clear, with excellent black levels. The muted colors are intended. Viewed with a projector the image has a video like appearance although shot on Kodak film negative. These seems to be the trend nowadays. The picture is transferred directly from the computer to digital media, and the result is a strong picture, but at the same time has remove the film like image.

Dispute the announcement of a 5.1 offering, there's only a DD 2.0 audio track, that is flawless, but it can't handle the material as good as in DD 5.1 separation. The original location sound post production is very rough - there's constant errors in the dialog recording, (the wind strokes the microphone etc),. These is most probably intended to instill a documentary style expression. I shouldn't wonder that they are most likely created in the post production stage.

Together with the video like image and the rough sound, I had several times the feeling that I'm watching the Nine O'Clock news. Maybe it's intended!

The extra material is a 40 minute "Master class". I'm sure that the dialog in French should be more accurate if it would be subtitled to English. Now Bruno Dumont is speaking French and a 3rd person translates it to English throughout. It take's time and the translation isn't the most accurate.

Even though I haven't made screen caps from the war sequences, the film feels extremely violent at time. This is a warning for sensitive audiences.

 - Per-Olof Strandberg

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Soda Pictures

Region 2 - PAL




 

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