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The Life of Jesus (1997)
"La vie de Jésus" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  4 June 1997 (France)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,396 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 25 critic

A social movie about life nowadays in the north of France. Freddy and his friends are all unemployed. They try to pass away the time by wandering around on their motorcycles and by ... See full summary »



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Title: The Life of Jesus (1997)

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15 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
David Douche ...
Marjorie Cottreel ...
Kader Chaatouf ...
Sébastien Delbaere ...
Samuel Boidin ...
Steve Smagghe ...
Sébastien Bailleul ...
Geneviève Cottreel ...
Freddy's mother (Yvette)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Suzanne Berteloot ...
Infirmière (as Suzanne Bertelot)
Jeanne ...
Freddy's mother (Double for nude scenes)
Sophie Ruckebusch ...


A social movie about life nowadays in the north of France. Freddy and his friends are all unemployed. They try to pass away the time by wandering around on their motorcycles and by directing their aggressive feelings towards Arabic immigrants. Freddy is in love with Marie, a cashier at a local supermarket. When she is proposed by Kader, an young Arab man, Freddy and his friends have an idea: they decide to punish Kader for what they call "such a provocation." After they have raped another girl, Marie finally commits to Kader, which seals his fate. Written by Philippe Petit <>

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Release Date:

4 June 1997 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Life of Jesus  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Ennui in Flanders
14 February 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

There is enormous promise in the opening scenes of Bruno Dumont's first feature "La Vie de Jesus". He is clearly a director with a great feeling for landscape, that ability to draw the viewer into a self-contained world, in this case an agricultural area of Northern France. Within minutes we know what it is like to live in this small redbrick town bounded by seemingly endless lanes and fields where very little happens and even the local cafe is all but deserted on a weekday mid-afternoon. We share the stifling boredom of the group of unemployed youths with little do except joyride their mopeds. We are in a world akin to that of Bresson's "Au Hazard Balthazar" and "Mouchettte" with Dumont revealing his with the assured unflinching vision of the master himself. Already we are beginning to sense the thrill that comes with the intuition that we may be discovering a major new talent. A brilliantly observed scene where the group of friends visit the brother of one of them who is in a coma dying of AIDS seems to confirm this. Words cannot convey their feeling but expressions say everything. However after this doubts gradually creep in. It requires real genius to sustain viewer interest in a film about provincial ennui. Not that nothing happens. There is an attack on an Arab youth that results in manslaughter, an arrest and an escape. The problem is not a lack of psychological development. There is an inevitability about the main protagonist, Freddy's obsession with the only girl around and his gunning for the Arab as a result of sexual rivalry fuelled by group racism. Rather is the problem one of a lack of narrative development. One sequence of moped riding becomes just like any other as do all those scenes of young people just moping around. Unfortunately the film eventually evokes viewer tedium in a way that is self defeating. Nevertheless there is excitement in the discovery of a new directorial talent and the prediction that he could in time make a really outstanding film.

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