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Humanité (1999) More at IMDbPro »L'humanité (original title)

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Down 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Bruno Dumont (writer)
View company contact information for Humanité on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 September 1999 (Norway) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
3 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Leaves a Dull Aching in Its Wake See more (62 total) »


  (in credits order)
Emmanuel Schotté ... l'inspecteur de police Pharaon De Winter
Séverine Caneele ... Domino
Philippe Tullier ... Joseph
Ghislain Ghesquère ... Le commissaire de police
Darius ... L'infirmier (as Daniel Leroux)
Daniel Petillon ... Jean - un policier
Robert Bunzi ... Le policier anglais
Dominique Pruvost ... L'ouvrier virulent
Jean-Luc Dumont ... Le CRS
Diane Gray ... La voyageuse anglaise
Paul Gray ... Le voyageur anglais
Sophie Vercamer ... Une ouvrière
Murielle Houche ... Une ouvrière
Pascaline Guyot ... Une ouvrière
Liliane Facq ... Une ouvrière
Myriam Dehaine ... Une ouvrière
Bernard Catrycke ... Le père de Nadège
Marthe Vandenberg ... La grand-mère
Amanda Goemaere ... Une fillette
Honorine Douche ... Une fillette
Marie-Thérèse Cadet ... La mère
Denis Claerebout ... Le père
Suzanne Berteloot ... L'infirmière
Sylvie Perel ... L'amie de Domino
Malik Haquem ... Le dealer
Pierre-Olivier Thery ... Un collègue de Pharaon
Frédéric Engelaere ... Le jeune ouvrier
Françoise Blavoet ... Une visiteuse du fort
Chantal Desmettre ... Une visiteuse du fort
Jocelyne Vasseur ... Une visiteuse du fort
Annie Hennon ... Une visiteuse du fort
Pierre Raes ... Un visiteur du fort
Pierre Harrisson ... L'homme en pyjama
Mathieu Daussy ... Un étudiant à la brasserie
Marion Robyn ... Une étudiante à la brasserie
Laurent Pecqueur ... Un étudiant à la brasserie
Cédric Delplace ... Un étudiant à la brasserie
Julie Legras ... Une étudiante à la brasserie
Sylvain Backerlandt ... Un étudiant à la brasserie
Marie-Hélène Aernout ... Aline
Lucien Hallynck ... L'homme au béret
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eric Bailleul ... Un ouvrier
Edwige Benault ... Une voisine
Leslie Benault ... Un voisin
Hamid Bouderja ... Un technicien du musée
Sylvain Boulanger ... Un membre des forces de l'ordre
Daniel Braems ... Un ouvrier
Jean-François Carpentier ... Le pêcheur
Micheline Cerouter ... Une voisine
Ludovic Cousin ... Un membre des forces de l'ordre
Jean Rene Delaval ... Un membre des forces de l'ordre
Dominique Deroo ... Un ouvrier
Jean Pierre Doise ... Un membre des forces de l'ordre
Alexis Durlez ... Un consommateur
Marie-Thérèse François ... Une voisine
Jacques Gillot ... Un membre des forces de l'ordre
Jacky Hourdouille ... Un voisin
Heidelore Kramer ... Une passante
Regis Larridon ... Un ouvrier
Monique Laurent ... Un membre de la famille Janssens
J.J. Leurette ... Un ouvrier
Philippe Millet ... Un membre de la famille Janssens
Christophe Muys ... Un membre des forces de l'ordre
Jérôme Pollet ... Un baigneur
Gregory Ryckewaert ... Un technicien du musée
Florent Souchet ... Un membre de la famille Janssens
Patrice Souchet ... Un membre de la famille Janssens
Guy Valpoet ... Un ouvrier
Bernard Vanhaecke ... Un ouvrier
Michel Vanmeenen ... Un ouvrier
Pierre Verheyde ... Un passant

Sylvie Verheyde ... Une passante
Nicole Willier ... Une passante
Stephanie Wyts ... La serveuse

Directed by
Bruno Dumont 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Bruno Dumont  writer

Produced by
Rachid Bouchareb .... producer
Jean Bréhat .... producer
Original Music by
Richard Cuvillier 
Cinematography by
Yves Cape 
Film Editing by
Guy Lecorne 
Casting by
Claude Debonnet 
Bruno Dumont 
Production Design by
Marc-Philippe Guerig 
Art Direction by
Marc-Philippe Guerig 
Costume Design by
Nathalie Raoul 
Makeup Department
Jacques-Olivier Molon .... special makeup effects artist (dummy supply)
Ferouz Zaafour .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Muriel Merlin .... unit manager
Nicolas Picard .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Xavier Christiaens .... assistant director
Claude Debonnet .... assistant director
Rima Samman .... trainee assistant director
Yann Olivier Wicht .... assistant director
Art Department
Serge Berkenbaum .... property master
Sound Department
Pascal Jasmes .... boom operator
Jean-Pierre Laforce .... sound re-recording mixer
Pierre Mertens .... sound engineer
Mathilde Muyard .... sound editor
Philippe Penot .... foley artist
Visual Effects by
Ronan Broudin .... digital compositor
Thierry Saelens .... stunts
Daniel Vérité .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Roger Arpajou .... still photographer
Vincent Blasco .... key grip
Thierry Debove .... gaffer
Pascal Doyen .... electrician
Elin Kirschfink .... second assistant camera (as Ellin Kirschfink)
Jacques Monge .... Steadicam operator
François Perrault-Alix .... grip
Etienne Saldés .... key grip
Marie Sorribas .... first assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Isabelle Sanchez .... costumer
Editorial Department
Anja Lüdcke .... assistant editor
Music Department
William Christie .... musician: clavecin for Royer's "Pièce de Clavecin"
Other crew
Virginie Barbay .... script supervisor
Pascale Bourelli .... nude body double: Domino
Caroline Dieusaert .... production secretary
Annie Maurette .... press attaché
Delphine Merabet .... production assistant
Vanessa Réveillon .... production secretary

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"L'humanité" - France (original title)
"Humanity" - Europe (English title)
See more »
148 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

French visa # 90719 delivered on 19-10-1999.See more »


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13 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
Leaves a Dull Aching in Its Wake, 7 March 2001
Author: bluesdoctor from A Place is Just A Place


Movie as existential metareality, states of being. Severe and unadorned like Bresson, but Bresson slowed to quarter speed, bereft of any possibility of redemption, leaving only brutality, suffering, and, over all, an oppressive sheer physicality. In strict accordance with the well circulated theory propounded decades ago by Levi-Strauss, it belongs with those works which attempt to exorcise human demons by exposing them, spitting them out for all to see.

In a small Flanders village, Bailleul, a police superintendent, a particularly morose, melancholy little man, Pharaon De Winter (Emmanuel Schotte), investigates the brutal rape-murder of an 11 year-old girl, a crime he himself may or may not have committed. About half-way into the film we find out he "lost" his wife and child two years previously, and by the end of the film are left to wonder if didn't kill them as well. His very name suggests ancient Egyptian lineage. He lives a celibate life with his mother, Eliane (Ginette Allegre), in a working-class row house a couple of doors down from a woman for whom he has affections, Domino (Severine Caneele), but who is romantically involved with his best friend, Joseph (Philippe Tullier). The sexual tensions among the 3 are ambiguously both hetero- and homo-erotic. (Schotté and Caneele won awards for best actor and actress at the 1999 Cannes International Film Festival.)

The pace is s-l-o-w, like watching cows graze. The camera stares unblinkingly out at the world in prolonged shots, exemplifying the McLuhan-Warhol dictum that the medium makes the message (overtakes the message?). (Or is it that the tedium is the message?) Such monotony is supposed to defeat our conditioned expectations and force us back into our own world, make us take notice of the mundane, e.g., Warhol's sleeping subject. Real-time is meant to supplant artificial movie-time, resulting in a heavy physical presence, a naked unyielding reality, the world as it is sans artifice.

By this unabashed unedited naturalistic openness Dumont aims to: 1) capture the human animal in its native condition, the dumb beast which is all of us, as it desires, schemes, sweats, breathes, watches, waits, and imperceptibly ages; and 2) extricate from this hard-won unforgiving reality a realistic appraisal of man's true moral nature, of good and evil, disclosing their inexorable intertwining, resonant interdependence. With the investigator possibly being the investigated, there's that old ambiguous equality of cop and criminal, found, for example, in Norman Mailer's "Beyond The Law," (itself a Dostoevskian treatment), or in any of the innumerable routine actioners in which an undercover cop merges with his forged identity. The plot question of whodunit is supposed to fade into irrelevancy in the face of The Big Question of Good and Evil. The grief of the superintendent is the same, whether or not he committed the crime.

Dumont is a pessimist: man is fated to blindly act out his urges in a world he can never fully comprehend. Like the only witnesses to the rape, an elderly couple who rode by in a speeding train at 180 MPH, we ourselves are moving too fast and are too far away to ever see reality. Like the strikers in the film who capitulate to the bosses, we are too gutless to break the stranglehold of oppressive social circumstances. As enforcers of oppressive social order and conformity, the police successfully oppose the strikers, but are, when confronted with the real face of crime, its real human dimensions, impotent and indifferent, which is neatly summarized in the scene in which two cops casually look down from a high-rise building on a fight being silently played out on the ground. The Church constantly looms in the background. Symbolically situated at the end of the superintendent's street, its grey stone spires loom over him. Domino walks by a church, the camera peering in passing into its deep dark interior, through which a large white cross shines, remote, deathly. A museum has dusky blood-red walls, on which hang the paintings, postage stamp visions swamped by a sea of red. The white cliffs of Dover come in and out of view. ghostly, remote. We move through a world in which everything is unreachable, distant, and implacable.

But is it Real or Memorex? Stephen Holden of The New York Times writes: "This is a movie in which a close-up scene of something as commonplace as a woman peeling a potato implies an undercurrent of savage violation." But sometimes a potato is just a potato, a cigar just a cigar. You can slow it to a snail's pace, remove all the makeup and artifice, do away with dramatic dialogue and plot, but in the end film is inherently incapable of conveying the full sensory experience of life, of being in time, as this one valiantly tries to do, because it is limited to just 2 of the 5 senses, to sight and sound. It will always be shadows of shadows on a cave wall.

This isn't a film one "likes"; watching it is like wearing a hair shirt, an enlightening punishment. Rarely has the sexual act been as unattractive, as remotely observed; rarely, if ever, has a nonpornographic film depicted female genitalia as clinically.

"L'Humanité" is incohesive, only intermittently successful. Its many fine moments are separated by interminable stretches of tedium, their intensity diluted by blandness. The meaninglessness it depicts overtakes it. Like a bubble that keeps expanding, trying to take in the world, it ultimately bursts.

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