Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Man Bites Dog

This is not a nice man...  image via Spectrum Culture
At the 1992 Cannes Film Festival those who attended were faced with two tough films. One, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, was accepted into the mainstream. The other, a Belgian film named C'est arrivé prè de chez vous (known as Man Bites Dog in the English speaking world), was not. This was probably due to the almost constant violent acts committed by Benoît, including a brutal rape and the smothering of a child. The film is a mockumentary with a young film crew trailing Benoît, a serial killer, who become ever more involved in the acts they're filming. The film was met with strong reviews and won the SACD Award and Special Award for the Youth at Cannes. Funnily enough, these reviewers weren't on the Cannes panel... Let's start off with this one from amazon.co.uk:
While one can intellectualise and justify the presentation of gratuitous (But the violence in this film is not gratuitous. Without it, the whole thing wouldn't work. It is intended to make you question why you watch violent films and documentaries.) and extremes of violence in the name of art you should tread carefully before watching this film if you think you are going to be treated to some thought provoking 'black comedy' that will make you look at life in a subtly different way. (I wouldn't use the word 'treated' about the film, but it is humourous in places. And it is most certainly thought provoking.)

I thought twice about writing a review as I turned this film off about 20 minutes in, believing I had no right to write about something I had not watched in its entirety, and there in lies my point. (Right, let me get this straight. You know that you should not review something you have seen less than a third of, yet you did it anyway? How can you possibly 'know' that the film would not 'make you look at life in a subtly different way' when you haven't seen the end, or indeed the middle? You missed the ridicule heaped on Benoît for most of the second and third acts.)
If you want to spend your time watching a film of cold calculated disturbing violence I suggest you get out more. (Well, that's ironic. That is pretty much the message of the movie. See, if you miss most of the film you also miss the whole point of the bloody thing. Fuckwit.)
In the comments section the reviewer is chastised, rightfully, for reviewing something he'd seen almost nothing of. Then this guy tries to defend him:

The reviewer is perfectly justified in giving an opinion after viewing only a part of the film (No he isn't. It's stupid. He may as well review something based entirely on rumour and hearsay.) - no need to watch to the end (I did) to assess that it's just a collection of violent and complacent (I don't think you mean complacent to be honest.) acts under the iffy pretence (It isn't a pretence or iffy.) of "criticism of media and society" (But that's what it is. It's quite clear if you watch it.) and "dark humour" (It is dark, and it is humourous. Ergo, it is dark humour.), bla bla. Excuse me but I don't need to watch that trash to know there's something wrong with the world (I see. So in your world art is not allowed to criticise society? Should only vacuous tripe like Transformers be produced then?). I just need to look at Abu Ghraib pics or videos of humiliated Palestinians to know we live in a hell on Earth (I think you may be taking a cynical worldview slightly too far now...) where most people behave and think psychopathically (No they don't. A psychopath is someone who has no emotions or empathy and can feel no remorse. Most people could not behave this way even if they wanted to.), to the point of finding the depiction of a woman brutally raped on screen "disturbingly interesting", or "thought provoking". (The rape itself is certainly disturbing, but in and of itself is not 'interesting' or 'thought provoking' it is only when it is included as part of the whole film, with its associate ending, it becomes thought provoking.)

Thankfully, there's the "elite" who will explain to me that it is "art" and I'm too stupid to get it (Yeah, what do all those professional critics know, eh? You clearly know more about film than they do...). Sheesh. What a good job the pathocrats have done. (You realise that the world isn't actually controlled by sociopaths and psychopaths right? Are you really that paranoid?)
 Now, let's move over to see what we can find on amazon.com shall we?:
This review is for the Criterion collection DVD edition of the film. 

Man Bites Dog, released in Belgium as "C'est arrivé près de chez vous" which translates to "It happened in your town" (Neighbourhood, not town) is the worst film yet released through the Criterion Collection on DVD (I'll admit to not knowing all other films that have been released by Criterion, but I doubt this...). It recieved an NC-17 rating in the US and damn well deserves it (Yes. It does. But that is not a bad thing. Some films are intended to be watched by adults. Films that are aimed at adults should not be prejudiced against just because you're all so terrified of children seeing it. Children shouldn't see it, any parent that does allow their child to see it is an awful parent.). Too bad there is not a more strict rating (Yeah, stopping legal adults watching this film would be as ridiculous as preventing adults from drinking alcohol for three years. Oh, wait...). This film contains extremly graphic depictions of rape, murder, and even torture (It does. All of these acts are necessary to the trajectory of the film.). It has been banned in several countries including 2 in Europe (As far as I can see it was passed cut in Australia, and banned in Sweden. But Evil Dead was banned in the UK so I wouldn't hold any stock in that...). I could not help but turn my face away from many scenes (I think that's kind of the point...)

This film, shot in documentary style presents an "interview" with a serial killer 
(It's not so much an interview as a shadowing of him. That's why they follow him around so much...) and he demonstrates how he kills his victims. In a shockingly cold manner, he notices while in the home of an elderly woman, that she takes a medication for a heart condition. Instead of shooting her, he pulls out the gun and yells in a threatening manner, she has a heart attack as a result (Of course it was shockingly cold. The character is incredibly cold to his victims. That's why he murders people. And the film needs to shock to get its point across). He notes that bullets cost money and not worth wasting when they aren't necessary (Clearly an economically sound man...). There are also scenes where he smothers a child to death with his pillow and murders his parents. (And your point is? Yes, we get that you found the actions of the lead character [a serial killer let's not forget] deplorable. You are not supposed to admire him in any way. Your point is stupid!)
This film was an attempt to satirize media violence but all it does is glorify it. (No it doesn't. Movies that glorify violence are the ones that portray it as repurcussionless or glamuorous. Films such as this and Natural Born Killers go nowhere near glamorising or glorifying anything to do with killing or killers.)

[NOTE: paragraph deleted as it was just a list of the extras on the disc] 
Avoid this movie unless you like similar films. (I suppose that is a legitimate point, but I don't like you so I'm going to call you a wanker anyway... Wanker.)

From now on, I will get more info about Criterion DVD's before watching them, I will still note and rate the special features of each one though. (I would suggest that as a general rule for all films. That way you don't inflict a stupid review on the rest of us for a film you would never appreciate.)
And here's another, also from across the pond:
This movie is sick. (No it isn't. The character in it is undoubtedly an unwell man. But the film does not glamorise him in any way, so it raises itself above such accusations) Really! I am not a prude (You sound suspiciously like one...). But, there are some very distateful scenes that are unnecessary with the sheer objective of making the viewer sick (Two things, first the 'distasteful scenes' are necessary because of the reasons I have outlined above. Secondly, the main objective is not to make the viewer sick, it was to comment on reality documentaries and the audiences' obsession with violent film and TV). I'm not sure if the director was under a great delusion the he is so ironic or bold or shocking (But the film is ironic, bold and shocking in places. You've already said some of the scenes were distasteful, surely, then, you must have been shocked by them.). But this movie is total trash (That explains those critic awards at Cannes...). I remember walking out of the theatre when I saw it (So you didn't even see the whole thing? Why won't you bastards stop doing that? It's a really fucking thick thing to do.). I suggest you walk out of your home if it is playing on your tv (You could just switch it off if you didn't like it...)..... and then move to another town, take an hour long shower and burn your clothes. (What. The. Fuck? I mean I overreact but seriously man. We get that you didn't like the film, but Christ almighty get a grip.)
 Well, I think that'll do for today. See you next time!

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