980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
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980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#1 Post by swo17 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:01 pm

La vie de Jésus

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With his stunning debut feature, the risk-taking auteur Bruno Dumont immediately established his reputation as both a spiritual heir to Robert Bresson and an uncompromising iconoclast on the cutting edge of French cinema. Blending unflinching realism with moments of startling, light-filled beauty, La vie de Jésus finds unexpected philosophical richness in the quotidian, small-town existence of Freddy (nonprofessional David Douche in a revelatory, one-off performance), an aimless young man with epilepsy who, in his childlike simplicity, embodies both great tenderness and terrifying brutality. Leaving the film's cryptic title tantalizingly open to interpretation, Dumont dares viewers to see the divine in a seemingly dead-end world.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Bruno Dumont, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with Dumont
• Conversation between Dumont and critic Philippe Rouyer from 2014
• Excerpts from two 1997 episodes of the French television program Le cercle de minuit
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by critic Nicholas Elliott


L'humanité

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The transcendent second feature by Bruno Dumont probes the wonder and horror of the human condition through the story of a profoundly alienated police detective (the indelibly sad-eyed Emmanuel Schotté, winner of an upset best actor prize at Cannes for his first film performance) who, while investigating the murder of a young girl, experiences jolting, epiphanous moments of emotional and physical connection. Demonstrating Dumont's deftness with nonactors and relentlessly frank depiction of bodies and sexuality, L'humanité is at once an idiosyncratic police procedural and a provocative exploration of the tension between humankind's capacity for compassion and our base, sometimes barbarous animal instincts.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Bruno Dumont, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with Dumont
• Conversation between Dumont and critic Philippe Rouyer from 2014
• Segment from the French television program Tendences featuring actress Séverine Caneele
• Segment from a 1999 French television news program featuring Dumont
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by critic Nicholas Elliott

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Big Ben
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#2 Post by Big Ben » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:41 pm

I've known of Dumont for years and was told I would like his stuff but I'm under the impression that he changed structure to some degree. I've read that at one time he was an considered Bresson's heir but has that changed? My inexperience is evident here but for the more knowledgeable here are these two similar in structure/style? Or was that just hyperbole? I'm looking forward to seeing his stuff for the first time though!

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swo17
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#3 Post by swo17 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:52 pm

These two are serious and provocative, now he's a comedian and provocative

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colinr0380
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:55 pm

I suppose in these early films he is Bressonian in the sense of stark imagery and flawed, Earth-bound protagonists (played by 'unconventional' or non-professional actors, at least before Juliette Binoche starts appearing in his films) reaching transcendent yet grounded epiphanies regarding their guilty roles in the world, though Dumont is much more explicit (in all senses) about his material. L'humanité is an amazing film (I wrote a little about it and Twentynine Palms, with spoilers, a while back), especially for its strange approach to its murder-mystery plot that almost disappears for a large portion of the film (the relationship with the neighbour and the art subplot taking precedence for a while) until being resolved in a rather deus ex machina fashion. Though the slightly unbelievable nature of the resolution is perhaps important in itself, tying back to the beginning of the film in a strangely cyclical manner.
SpoilerShow
Much of this only becomes clear on a subsequent viewing but it is perhaps the most sympathetic take on the psyche of a child murderer that could possibly be made. Pharaon witnesses firsthand through his 'investigation' into the murder the seeming lack of interest from the authorities. He even appears to want to be held accountable for his crime in some way even though the only, somewhat implausibly existing, witnesses barely saw anything from the window of their speeding express train, and seem to only exist to add an extra digression to the film and just because the characters wish to be a part of the narrative, even if they have nothing meaningful to contribute in themselves! That pushes the meandering police procedural aspect way into the background for more internalised notions of guilt, almost in the vein of Crime and Punishment, with the main character seemingly tormented (or at least disconnected) by his guilt with even moments of artistic expression and human relationships turned mocking of his transgressive actions (especially in the way that the universe appears to be 'covering up' for him, as the wrong man goes to jail. Or at least goes to jail for the wrong reason).

In particular there is the scene in the art gallery where Pharaon is drawn to and then cannot meet the eyes of the young girl gazing back out of the painting which contrasts interestingly with the explicit manner in which both the dead body of the young girl covered in ants at the opening and the body of Domino sobbing lying on her bed near to the end of the film seem to be getting equated together, as the way in which they are both posed is seeming to pointedly reference the Gustave Courbet painting L'Origine du monde (very NSFW!)

If Criterion really is preparing to release Lars von Trier's The House That Jack Built at some point, perhaps Funny Games and this film are preparing the way for it in some fashion.
It is also really interesting to see a French film that is looking back across the Channel to England at a couple of points!

I wonder if we will get a commentary track or video piece from Michael Jeck? He is perhaps more familiar for his commentaries on Criterion's Kurosawa films Seven Samurai (doing all three hours plus by himself) and Throne of Blood but I seem to remember on one of the previous US DVDs for either L'humanité or Twentynine Palms he conducted an interview with Dumont. (EDIT: This did not happen on reveal of the extras!)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:13 am, edited 16 times in total.

dda1996a
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#5 Post by dda1996a » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:36 pm

Remember hating Jesus, anyone care to counter?

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domino harvey
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#6 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:39 pm

dda1996a wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:36 pm
Remember hating Jesus, anyone care to counter?
Jesus is love

Glowingwabbit
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#7 Post by Glowingwabbit » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:37 pm

It seems like Criterion doesn't release in pairs as much anymore. I've missed that.

dda1996a
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#8 Post by dda1996a » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:48 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:39 pm
dda1996a wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:36 pm
Remember hating Jesus, anyone care to counter?
Jesus is love
I deserve that for my hastiness. I remember disliking Dumont's Life of Jesus when I watched really long ago, anyone here likes Dumont's film?

beamish14
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#9 Post by beamish14 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:48 am

dda1996a wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:48 pm
domino harvey wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:39 pm
dda1996a wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:36 pm
Remember hating Jesus, anyone care to counter?
Jesus is love
I deserve that for my hastiness. I remember disliking Dumont's Life of Jesus when I watched really long ago, anyone here likes Dumont's film?

Yes, I enjoy it quite a bit. It's an interesting critique of French insularity and how that leads to racial tension. Like Bresson, he has a real gift
for coaxing compelling performances from nonprofessional actors.


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FrauBlucher
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#11 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri May 17, 2019 5:35 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#12 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 17, 2019 5:38 pm

You both win Member of the Day for not making a pun

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#13 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri May 17, 2019 5:55 pm

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Peter McM
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#14 Post by Peter McM » Wed May 22, 2019 6:53 am

I thought I'd never heard of Bruno Dumont until I realized he directed Slack Bay, a film I borrowed from the library some time ago. A very quirky comedy, and very different for Juliette Binoche. I'll have to give one or both of these releases a look.

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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#15 Post by Glowingwabbit » Wed May 22, 2019 8:57 am

Peter McM wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 6:53 am
I thought I'd never heard of Bruno Dumont until I realized he directed Slack Bay, a film I borrowed from the library some time ago. A very quirky comedy, and very different for Juliette Binoche. I'll have to give one or both of these releases a look.
Just a heads up, don't expect the same kind of film with these.

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tenia
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#16 Post by tenia » Wed May 22, 2019 9:27 am

P'tit Quinquin and its follow-up, and I guess Jeannette and Jeanne (though I haven't seen those), are the only other Dumont movies remotely close to the tone of Slack Bay. While I liked a lot Slack Bay and the 2 seasons of P'tit Quinquin, I vastly disliked all the previous movies I've seen from Dumont, especially Flandres.

dda1996a
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#17 Post by dda1996a » Wed May 22, 2019 10:05 am

And if I fucking hated Slack Bay and found Jesus just tedious but note awful, where do I sit on the Dumont spectrum?

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Fiery Angel
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#18 Post by Fiery Angel » Wed May 22, 2019 10:09 am

then you will fucking hate all of his tedious but note awful films

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#19 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Wed May 22, 2019 10:54 am

Fiery Angel wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 10:09 am
then you will fucking hate all of his tedious but note awful films
Hors Satan is a masterpiece and I will brand the word "TEDIOUS" on the forehead of anyone who disagrees.

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swo17
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#20 Post by swo17 » Wed May 22, 2019 11:00 am

All of his films pre-Quinquin are dead serious. I'd also say Hors Satan is the best of the lot.

dda1996a
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Re: 980-981 La vie de Jésus & L'humanité

#21 Post by dda1996a » Wed May 22, 2019 11:47 am

I definitely am interested in Satan, Hadewijch, Lhumanite, Camille Claudel and Twentynine Palms, so I haven't written him off.

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