When an 11-year-old girl is brutally raped and murdered in a quiet French village, a police detective who has forgotten how to feel emotions--because of the death of his own family in some kind of accident--investigates the crime, which turns out to ask more questions than it answers.
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In a town near Lille, melancholy police superintendent Pharaon De Winter lives with his mother. An 11-year-old girl has been raped and murdered. Over the next week, De Winter investigates and grieves, his face nearly expressionless. He bikes, he gardens. He accompanies his neighbors, Joseph and Domino, to dinner and to the seaside; he even observes them in vigorous if not rough coitus. For Domino, sex seems her way of connecting. Does she fancy Pharaon? A plowed field, the sea, Pharaon's flowers, the pudenda of Domino and of the ravaged girl - this mix of images of beauty, evil, and possibility assaults Pharaon as he tries to do his job and hold on to his humanity. Written by
L'Humanité is undoubtedly the best French movie I've seen this year. It's somewhere between Robert Bresson and David Lynch, which is quite uncommon. This is a suspense movie, but the nature of the suspense is metaphysical. The spectator, like the hero (Pharaon de Winter), keeps on following false leads as he tries to discover WHO the murderer could be. He even suspects Pharaon himself to be guilty (which, in a way, is true, if we admit we're all guilty). The characters all seem to be on the thin border line between humanity and animality. Pharaon needs a physical contact with human beings and animal alike; most of the time, men and women are filmed as if they were beasts and vice versa. But the film bears no contempt for anyone. It's not realistic but, on the other hand, it has nothing in common with 99% of the fictions we go and see usually. There is something about empathy in L'Humanité that I had never felt in cinema before. If I had to connect it with a genre, it would definitely be an "ethological genre movie" The screenplay is brilliant, the actors are so far away from what we expect from actors that they seem to come from another planet until we understand it's actually ours. Here is the riddle of L'Humanité: we live down here among strangers, and the nearer other people seem to be, the farther they actually are. L'Humanité is not made to entertain. If you're not looking for something else in films, don't waste your time, it has nothing in common with The End of Days.
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