L’Humanite Review

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A multiple prize-winner at Cannes, Dumont’s second feature chronicles the investigation into the rape and murder of an 11 year-old girl. However, solving the crime isn’t the purpose of this languid study of fin-de-siécle emotional and spiritual bankruptcy.

Returning to the bleak Pas-de-Calais landscape of The Life Of Jesus (1997), Dumont invokes Robert Bresson with his ultra-controlled use of a non-professional cast, stark imagery and methodical pacing. But there’s no precedent for Schotte’s eccentric performance, as the cop torn between memories of his dead wife and daughter and his suppressed desire for Caneele’s factory girl.

Packed with contradictions, ambiguities and dangerous ideas, this demonstration of the tangibility of evil in a de-sensitised world is guaranteed to provoke.