No one goes to French filmmaker Bruno Dumont for easy answers or anything approaching ‘fun.’ His oeuvre is marked by an ascetic aesthetic, employed to serve sober themes – and Hors Satan may be his most inscrutable work yet. Actually, semi-scrutable is a fairer approximation of the film’s arcane qualities: precise meanings may be elusive, but there’s more to comprehension than whos, whats and whys, and by the final scene, Dumont’s meditation on good and evil has punctured through its recondite shell to leave an indubitable mark.
Visually striking throughout, Dumont contrasts rural tranquillity
with shocking violence and abnormal sexual encounters, including one
scene in which the unnamed male protagonist sleeps with a backpacker,
only for her to disturbingly growl and froth at the mouth in response – a
reaction that may signify euphoria, but could equally indicate
something more unsavoury. The ambiguity is typical, the impact
substantial: in short, you won’t necessarily understand every frame, but
you won’t easily forget them either.
Out 13th May