Another cinema experience I recommend.
C’est arrivé près de chez vous (Man Bites Dog) is a French film directed by Remy Belvaux. Its available from Criterion in a great remastered version; the cover art is something. It’s somewhat difficult to track down though, but certainly worth it.
I saw this years ago, and thought of it a few days back. Rewatching, I kept thinking about how films made over a decade ago (1992 in the case of this film) can be relevant years after. Quasi-documentary, completely original, horrifying, hilarious; this is one with several layers. A film crew follows a man around (serial killer) and things happen. Dinner parties. A train ride. Discussions covering cinema, music, and the ballast ratio required to keep a midget’s corpse submerged in a body of water. I won’t say anything else.
Interesting idea when you think about our obsession with ‘reality’ television, graphic video on the news, etc.’ What the hell is wrong with us, why are you entertained by this?’ oozes from this flick, which makes the viewer the consummate ironic character. I almost feel like the audience isn’t supposed to “enjoy” this film. Instead it is something to be analyzed, both on its own and in context (philosophical, cultural, political, etc etc etc). Entertainment value is derived from the pleasure resulting from mental exercise. In the US a majority of our films lack any intellectual requirement. Watching Transformers 2, everything is put right out there for you. There is little (intentional) subtext or mental engagement, just scantily-clad women and explosions. Both great things, but come on. I suppose if you don’t enjoy thinking this might not be the best post for you. In fact, go away.