A hilariously satirical mockumentary that revolves around a student film crew as they follow a serial killer. As the crew document and observe his crimes, he reveals to the camera his insights on life, love, art, nature, music and society. The crew, who at first are dispassionate observers gradually begin to get caught up in the chaotic violence that surrounds the focus of their documentary: Ben.
Where to start? Although the mix of shocking violence and black comedy may come as a bit of surprise to some viewers, this film truly is exceptional. Shot on the lowest of low budgets by four Belgian students, C'est arrivé près de chez vous (It happened near you) is both a commentary on human being's fascination with the macabre and the media's obsession with violence, but don't let that put you off.
Benoît Poelvoorde absolutely shines as the charismatic and pretentious murdering psychopath, his quick humour, awful poetry recitals and general joie de vivre endear him to the viewer, regardless of the atrocities he commits (e.g. screaming at an old lady with a heart condition in order to save a bullet). However, the mastery and strength of this film lies in its tongue in cheek ability to make the audience ask itself questions regarding complacency to violence.
Apart from Benoît's self penned poetry:
« Pigeon !
Oiseau à la grise robe,
Dans l'enfer des villes
À mon regard, tu te dérobes,
Tu es vraiment le plus agile. »
the film has some genuinely disturbing moments, and is not for the faint of heart.
The Downright Ugly:
Aside from the aforementioned in-your-face violence, for anyone familiar with the l'affaire Grégory, the whole 'petit Grégory' cocktail scene is pretty bad taste, in a film that in general is very distasteful.
One of the best things to have ever come out of Belgium, go and watch this film, unless you're an easily offended or shocked OAP / postman.
Release date: 1992
Directed by: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde
Starring: Benoît Poelvoorde
Country of Origin: Belgium