Man Bites Dog a jpoc movie review

Starring: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, et al.
Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel

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My Rating

Seven out of ten.

A unique film that pushes back the boundaries.

My review

A black and white, pseudo fly on the wall documentary, with French dialogue following the weird antics of a man teetering somewhere beyond the edge of normality. That may sound like a description of "Mr Hulot's Holiday" but it also sums up "Man Bites Dog".

The film follows the exploits of Benoit, a serial killer. It is his vocation and he takes it seriously indeed. Serious not just about killing individuals but about being a serial killer. He is aware of his filmers and, on occasion, plays up to the cameras. We see him commit a number of gruesome killings and dispose of the bodies of his victims. Gradually, the film makers become dragged into his crimes and finally, they are fully fledged accomplices.

Some people have ascribed motivations and meanings to this film as being a comment on the way in which the media fixates on and lauds some violent criminals. I cannot agree with this. The film was made as a student project and with no expectation that it would be viewed outside its immediate academic environment.

There is a lot of violence in this movie. Explicit, gratuitous and, on occasion, sexual. At the same time, there is a lot of, albeit very dark, humour. It is not for the squeamish or for the narrow minded and indeed, I could not really argue with anyone who found this film profoundly offensive. On the other hand, it does have something to say which can only be said in this way.