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Man Bites Dog (1992)

C'est arrivé près de chez vous (original title)
NC-17 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 15 January 1993 (USA)
A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Writers:

Rémy Belvaux (story), Rémy Belvaux (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Benoît Poelvoorde ... Ben
Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert ... Ben's Mother (as Jacqueline Poelvoorde Pappaert)
Nelly Pappaert Nelly Pappaert ... Ben's Grandmother
Hector Pappaert Hector Pappaert ... Ben's Grandfather
Jenny Drye Jenny Drye ... Jenny
Malou Madou Malou Madou ... Malou
Willy Vandenbroeck Willy Vandenbroeck ... Boby
Rachel Deman Rachel Deman ... Mamie Tromblon
André Laime André Laime ... Bed-ridden Old Man
Édith Le Merdy ... Nurse (as Edith Lemerdy)
Sylviane Godé Sylviane Godé ... Rape Victim (Martine)
Zoltan Tobolik Zoltan Tobolik ... Rape Victim's Husband
Valérie Parent Valérie Parent ... Valerie
Alexandra Fandango Alexandra Fandango ... Kalifa
Olivier Cotica Olivier Cotica ... Benichou
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Storyline

A camera crew follows a serial killer/thief around as he exercises his craft. He expounds on art, music, nature, society, and life as he offs mailmen, pensioners, and random people. Slowly he begins involving the camera crew in his activities, and they begin wondering if what they're doing is such a good idea, particularly when the killer kills a rival and the rival's brother sends a threatening letter. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Killer Comedy

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for strong graphic violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Belgium

Language:

French

Release Date:

15 January 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man Bites Dog See more »

Filming Locations:

Mouscron, Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

BEF1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,176, 18 January 1993

Gross USA:

$205,569

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$205,569
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Les Artistes Anonymes See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #165. See more »

Goofs

When Ben has suffocated the little kid by putting a pillow on his face, the body stops stumbling and is supposedly dead, but the chest still makes breathing movements. See more »

Quotes

Ben: [after killing a black man] Here's our golden opportunity to see if that legend about their size is true. Rémy, pull his pants down. We'll know in a jiffy. Good Lord! He's really well hung. You can wrap it up now. It's disgusting. The kid's barely 18 and already hung like a polar bear.
See more »

Alternate Versions

ENDING SPOILERS - In some versions, the final shot, where everyone dies, lasts until the film runs out of the camera, which leaves a blank white screen after the film slips out of the camera's gate. In other versions, there is a dissolve between the the final shot and the blank screen at a much sooner point--and the viewer does not see the film slip out of the gate. The Criterion Collection edition released in 2002 has the latter version of the final shot. See more »

Connections

References Angélique (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

Is it real? Is it a movie? What's the difference?
11 January 2004 | by gregwombatSee all my reviews

Man Bites Dog (C'est arrivé près de chez vous).

To say this movie is disturbing would be an understatement. A massive, gigantic understatement! But it is also a display of film-genius.

The movie is filmed in Black and White and is presented as a "documentary" of a serial killer. The film crew follows Benoit, the killer, around town as he recites poetry, muses on welfare and housing reform, ponders philosophy, and ... well, kills. Totally randomly.

He explains to the film crew the lessons he has learned about killing, how to stay low key, who to go after, and what potential victims are a waste of time. For Benoit, killing is an art form, but not one that should be undertaken frivolously.

There are scenes when his lunacy are briefly pierced by humanity - he counsels one of the film crew not to kill, because once you start it becomes a habit. In another scene he laments having killed a suburban family, because they had nothing good to steal, as it turned out. He proclaims that "there should be a law against" killing for no good reason.

Those who shy from blood and killing - about the most graphical violence you'll ever see "documented" in a film - should shy from this movie. But anyone with an interest in a glimpse at the darkest side of human nature will appreciate this film, not necessarily for its story or its darkness, but for its ability to make us think, and open our eyes to human behaviour we don't like to admit might exist.

During the course of the movie you become totally numb to the act of killing (or maming or torture or rape or any violent crime). It is no longer shocking when he kills yet another victim. It has become commonplace. You just sort of scratch your head and wonder - why this one? why now? why him? why her? This mental numbness is made possible by the way it is filmed - as though it were a documentary. Not long into the movie you begin to wonder if this is real, or just a movie. I wonder if this is the kind of numbness that soldiers experienced in wars like WWI, entrenched and under constant fire - to where the violence around become the norm. I read a book once called "My War Gone By, I Miss it So" (that's a whole 'nother review) in which a war-writer kept returning to the front because after experiencing violence all around him day after day after day, he could no longer live without it. In Man Bites Dog the killing is Benoit's addiction, but we, as viewers become complacent to it. We have been numbed to where it is no longer disturbing. Makes you scratch your head and wonder: is such detachment from emotion and what's right really possible???

To add to the realism, all the actors play characters with their real names. The killer's mother and grandparents in the movie - are really the actor's mother and grandparents in real life. During most of the filming they were not told it was about serial killing, just that they were in a movie with their son. So they just act normal around the son they love, only to find out in later scenes that the whole film is about killing. Imagine the look of shock on their faces to find this out - to them the story then is no longer acting but real: they've just discovered their son/grandson made a film about brutal killings and the shock shows in their faces.

Is it real? Is it a movie? What defines the difference?

When I told him about this movie, a friend mentioned that "society,as a whole, is already numb to brutal killing and violence." He's right about that. But this movie is so ridiculously brutal and violent it is more a mockery of our society's complacence to violence, not an endorsement.


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