Flanders: Bruno Dumont, WTF?

Not, alas, a biopic of the Simpsons' god-fearing neighbor. The latest from philosophy-professor-turned-cineaste Bruno Dumont marks a return to the drab provincial wasteland of his controversial Humanité—and scrapes the absolute bottom of the sub-Bressonian barrel. Thick-faced Samuel Boidin plays André Demester, a farmer recently conscripted into an unnamed Middle Eastern war. Burdened by the picture's solemn, bovine mannerism, he prepares to embark by wandering through pig shit, casting a blank, meaningless glare at the trees, the sky, the rolling hills, the filthy livestock, a glowing campfire, and sullen Barbe (Adélaïde Leroux), the village slut. Dumont crosscuts between the atrocities abroad (murder, rape, insufferable pretension) and the crisis at home (anal sex, abortions, inscrutable nervous breakdowns) with a sluggish, Ping-Pong monotony. As an allegory of war in the Bush era, the result is goofier than The Hills Have Eyes 2. As an evocation of a state of mind, Flanders suggests that Dumont has altogether lost his.

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