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Flanders

A film by Bruno Dumont

Cast: Adelaide Leroux, Samuel Boidin, Henri Cretel

France, 2006, Color, 91 min, 35mm, 2:35 cinemascope

   
::  35mm film rental: $500 | DVD: $250
::  DVD Purchase (with public performance license): $295
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With Flanders, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Bruno Dumont returns to the land of his childhood in northern France to make what many are calling his most accessible film to date.

André Demester shares his time between his farm and walks with Barbe, his childhood friend. He loves her secretly and painfully, accepting from her the little that she can give him. Along with the others his age, Demester leaves home to be a soldier in a war in a far off land. Barbarity, camaraderie and fear turn Demester into a warrior. As the seasons go by, Barbe, alone and wasting away, waits for the soldiers to return. Will Demester’s boundless love for Barbe save him?

"There is in Dumont’s world, more perhaps than for any other filmmaker, a capacity to see the beauty and human particularity of individuals at the very moment that physical drive and brutality are brought to bear upon them.” -Jean-Michel Frodon, Cahiers du Cinema

"Bruno Dumont returns to the form his admirers love in Flanders a somber, beautifully acted reflection on the barbarity of war and the bestiality of man which only enormous compassion can redeem.” -- Deborah Young, Variety

"Moving and remarkably contained.” -- Glenn Kenny, Premiere

"Better than a cross between Irrevérsible and Saving Private Ryan. A return to form.”
-- Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Flanders makes antimilitary and antioccupation statements with clear parallels to the situation in Iraq. With a brilliant severity, it is Dumont’s most accomplished work since La vie de Jésus.” -- Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker Magazine

"There is in Dumont’s world, more perhaps than for any other filmmaker, a capacity to see the beauty and human particularity of individuals at the very moment that physical drive and brutality are brought to bear upon them.” -- Jean-Michel Frodon, Cahiers du Cinema

"Dumont drops us into the midst of this war that’s familiar to our media-saturated eyes, yet strange and different. It’s the caveman version of Iraq, in which Demester’s and Blondel’s unit respond with unalloyed animal instincts after a surprise attack. What’s first felt is the shock of what these soldiers do to women and villagers, and the equally savage counter-response the soldiers later endure. What follows are questions: Is it in the nature of all or only some men to descend to the level of beasts when chance allows for it? Is the war in Iraq so fundamentally skewed toward failure (to comprehend the reality of the place, to understand the people) that it’s a battlefield comprised solely of booby-traps? Is it possible to make a war movie that drains all possible cathartic pleasure out of war-making itself, and leaves only the horror?
“Dumont is at his best, as he is here, when he allows these issues to float portentously in the atmosphere, and gradually settle into the viewer’s consciousness. Events, though, have caught up to Dumont, who’s made a film that not simply foretells war crimes to come, but marks a leap forward in his maturity as an artist. For Barbe, back home, pregnant, and hysterically mad, the war is also quite real (Demester doesn’t need to tell her what happened: she knows already); and because it is, and because she’s been able to survive along with Demester, she can make the final leap. In Flanders, Dumont’s characters actually reach out to each other, and this is a real development.”

-- Robert Koehler, CinemaScope

 

 

Cannes Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize

Toronto Film Festival

Rendezvous with French Cinema, New York

City of Lights, City of Angels, Los Angeles

San Francisco International Film Festival

 

 

 
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