Loser's Guide Loser's Guide

 Loser's Guide to Life

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Au Cinéma 

C'est arrivé près de chez vous (1992)

Meditations on city planning and a changing population as they affect the average serial killer.

aka Man Bites Dog. Rémy Belvaux, dir.; with Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert. 96 min.

A serial murderer goes around murdering people seriatim, followed by a documentary crew.

I was afraid this was going to be one of those movies where you have to pretend to be in on the joke to avoid seeming like some kind of bore, but it does work, chiefly because of the abilities of Benoît Poelvoorde as the killer. Also there are no attempts at broad humour or stale mockumentary effects. Instead, the film is staightforward and realistic, which makes it something like a disturbing dream. The murders are made to seem like ordinary events without a hint of drama.

That's the interesting thing. I used to get impatient with movies or novels that focused on violence because it's an exceptional part of life and does not, of itself, tell you very much about anything. This movie overcomes that, as if to say: people do kill each other; C'est arrivé près de chez vous!; and the only way to understand it is to imagine how it could fit into normal life. And it does fit.



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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.