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Hors Satan

June 17, 2017

Hors Satan (2011)
Director: Bruno Dumont
Actors: David Dewaele, Alexandre Lematre, Valerie Mestdagh

1080234-david-dewaele-37-ans-acteur-de-bruno-300x196-1.jpg (300×196)

Synopsis: In an isolated community in France’s Opal Coast, a vagrant man (David Dewaele) engages in acts that straddle both sides of the moral spectrum.

Review: A tour de force of concentric filmmaking – where everything from subject matter and setting, to the personnel, combine to form a searing document on the dichotomy of beauty and savagery at the heart of a bleak French coastal community – Hors Satan is perhaps Bruno Dumont’s finest pictoral achievement as a director.

The film is also an ultimate testament to the wonderfully compelling non-professional actor unearthed by Dumont, David Dewaele, who was to die just weeks after the film’s UK release. If Hors Satan is all about presence and mise en scène, Dewaele is necessarily the most important part of the film’s aesthetic. His wildness, his charisma, the way his persona can simultaneously suggest sensitivity and malevolence – Dewaele is the icon on which this film’s treatise on mysticism and morality can hypnotically play out on.

Recently, Dumont has gone down a more crowd-pleasing French farce route, and amid the bleakness of Hors Satan‘s canvas are signs that Dumont was moving this way: from the gallows depiction of the key early killing, to the truly bizarre scene where a randy hitchhiker gets more than she bargained for when she attempts to seduce Dewaele. In short, Hors Satan is an uncannily fascinating creation, and there will be one devotee, at least, who won’t complain if Dumont returns to the type of stately, serious work he essayed here. (June 2017)

 

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