People in a rural French village believe a mysterious drifter possesses healing powers and one troubled young girl in particular has embraced the stranger as a deliverer to ease her sufferings. The stranger spends most of his time walking and meditating like some Old Testament prophet in the desert. When he does speak it is only in terms of banalities. As we watch Bruno Dumont's "Outside Satan" we are drawn to this mystical figure. Is he an ascetic on retreat from the world? Is he a cult leader seeking gullible apprentices? Does he possess powers that transcend this world and if so what is the source of that power: good or evil? His behavior defies easy classification. I've never seen anything quite like this film and there will inevitably be numerous interpretations. David Dewaele is mesmerizing as the enigmatic protagonist. Alexandra Lematre is the sensitive young girl who travels from Goth rebelliousness to faithful acolyte. "Outside Satan" moves at a slow tempo punctuated with some jarring moments resembling the natural course of life and this is enhanced by the purely naturalistic soundtrack completely devoid of any musical accompaniment. This is avant-garde cinema and won't appeal to all tastes but if you're looking for something unique this certainly qualifies. It's been said that the notion of a devil provides religions with the means to reconcile the existence of evil with a world governed by a benevolent God. Perhaps it is this idea that Dumont is probing in "Outside Satan". What if there were no opposing forces and instead there was just one mysterious all-encompassing creation that offered no easy answers?
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