Sunday, 4 April 2010

C'est arrivé près de chez vous: Review

What's it all about?:

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.

The Good:

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.

The Bad:

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.

Final Verdict:

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
Benoît Poelvoorde
Country of Origin: Belgium

Maléfique : Review

What's it all about? :

Four prisoners occupying the same cell stumble upon a spell book that seems to be the answer to escape.

Four prisoners in a cell, the new boy Carrère, imprisoned for committing a company fraud; Marcus, an aspiring transsexual and his dependent, Pâquerette the compulsive eater; and Lassale, a cravat-wearing former librarian and philosopher.
One evening, Carrère and Marcus discover a journal hidden in the wall of the cell. This journal written by a former inmate in the 1920's, the youth obsessed serial killer Danvers; seems to reveal the secret to escaping their prison. But something sinister lies within its pages......

The Good:

The fact that the majority of the film takes place in a single cell and that the first half, which is steeped in interesting character development and black humour and driven by dialogue gives Maléfique the feeling of a stage play, something made possible by the sterling effort of the cast whose interpretations of these intriguing characters help to maintain the audience's attention. In particular the ever-watchable Clovis Cornillac in his role as the butch-bitch Marcus, and Dimitri Rataud's 'more excitable than an andrex puppy' character, Pâquerette.

The Bad:

It has to be said that the main concept of the plot is a fairly familiar formula: the discovery of a strange mystical object, the characters then use said object, and subsequently discover that it's not all it was cracked up to be is something many viewers will already be accustomed to in this genre of film.

The Downright Ugly:

A vagina collage, Clovis breastfeeding his cellmate, and existential sodomy; google any of that if you dare.

Final Verdict:

A well directed horror film, with a couple of stand out moments and misfit characters that is well worth a watch, if you've got nothing better to do that is.

Release date: 2002
Directed by: Eric Valette
Starring: Gérald Laroche, Philippe Laudenbach, Clovis Cornillac, Dimitri Rataud
Country of Origin: France