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Flanders Review

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Man becomes monster as a war in Africa destroys the lives of those involved in the conflict as well as the loved ones left behind.

★★★★

Bruno Dumont bounces back from the travesty of Twentynine Palms with this harrowing treatise on how war can unleash mankind’s latent bestiality.

Dumont conveys the soul-destroying ennui of rural life through conscripted farmer Samuel Boidin’s emotionless coupling with teenager Adélaïde Leroux, who avenges his refusal to acknowledge their relationship by seducing Henri Cretel before they go to fight in a faraway (and seemingly futile) conflict. As Leroux discovers she’s pregnant, her beaux find themselves abandoned in a Middle Eastern desert, where a resort to their basest instincts nearly proves fatal.

Morally ambiguous and stylistically unorthodox, this is both courageous and compelling.

Harrowing and complex, this study in terror is not for the faint of heart.