MovieChat Forums > L'Humanité (1999) Discussion > I hated this movie (spoilers)

I hated this movie (spoilers)


I usually like foreign movies because they have a different point of
view not the same as American movies. This movie sure had that, but
I was really disappointed. First, the subtitles were done really badly.
At one point there is an English speaking couple being questioned and
the English subtitles stopped ... but what if the viewer was deaf,
they could not tell a thing of what was going on.

Then, at the beginning there were really shocking and unnecessary
scenes of the dead woman ... girl I guess, and later in the movie
scenes that shock, combined with a terminally slow pace, and boringly
grim story.

The main character Pharoan acts like a retard, yet surprise, we find
out that he is the Police superintendent of a small town in France on
the northern border in view of England. There are a few points where
Pharoan steps up and we see that he has some strength of character,
but the movie incompetantly loses its rhythm and fails to run with
this.

Finally at the end what we do see is the big breakthrough, that murdered
of the girl is the Pharoan's best pal, and Pharoan kisses him full on the
lips while he does nothing. I guess I do not get it, because in what
fool's mind would a scene or movie play out like this.

What this seems like to me is the gay agenda being thrown up in the
faces of the audience. All through the movie the very unattractive
girlfriend of the murderer is shown as vulgar and stupid apparently
representing women, while the men are either cruel or stupid and dull.

Well, after this sentence I do not think this movie will get another
thought from me again, it is truly one of about 10 movies I have seen
that I would say have no redeeming value or anything of interest.

A better movie along a similar vein, almost as slow but at least sort
of interesting visually and musically as well as compelling was
"Exotica".

reply

[deleted]

I think it is of upmost childishness of you to equate maturity with gratuitous scenes of dead people - kind of impeaches your credibility to this child.

reply

[deleted]

Yeah and from my experiences as a child and I see most children just
like to see gore ... I put you in that category, only as a supposed
adult you have to rationalize it and justify it ... I'm on to you.

There are plenty of movies that find ways to get their point across
without heavy-handed tactics, I don't shy away from it, but as I said
it gets no points from me just for the sake of doing something that
other movies have not done in this department. Please end this thread,
I read your attack on my and I gave my side, there is not point going
back and forth.

reply

[deleted]

I don't care much that you didn't like the movie, I do find it annoying that you would judge a shocking scene to be "unnecessary" without ever even asking yourself why the author of the film (because L'Humanité truly is Cinéma d'auteur) chose to put it there... I might not have an answer to this question, but I do know these two shots (the close up of Domino and the dead girl's vagina) are references to Gustave Courbet's famous 1866 painting "L'Origine Du Monde" (The Origin Of The Word)... And all of a sudden, the film s open to new interpretation... and not boring anymore.

Perhaps you could do some more research like this in regards to other scenes. A film only gets boring if you are not inclined to finding it's intricacies (think, research, learn) or leaves no room for questioning. Let's not forget that L'Humanité, although based in a very "real" setting, is chock full of poetic imagery, and that's what's so beautiful about it! It doesn't have to be realistic. Dumont presents to you his vision, you the viewer are given leads, a concept and are free to come up with your own interpretation of what the film has to say... some films speak differently to different people. Not every film gives you this chance of course, most commercial films, or fast food cinema as I like to call it - just sweets, no nutrition, will just boost you up full of audio-visual carbs which might satisfy for a short while, but will leave you empty in the long run.

You've got to tackle a film like L'Humanité. If it feels strange and boring at first, read about it or watch it again. Stil boring? Try watching it a third time. Soon enough you'll realize its not boring at all as new details come at you with each viewing.

reply

First, screw you a-hole, for the following reasons:

1) Your opening line is completely unnecessary ... "I don't care much that you didn't like the movie,"

2) Instead of explaining what you thought you saw in this movie you take a belligerent and insulting tone ... so you're getting it back in spades f-head.

3) You have your hoity-toity reasons because you saw a painting once and you think you are a an intellectual and superior for your great education. That is what I don't care about. Symbolism like this is going to be lost on most people except for the superior few like you who happen to be in on the inside joke ... big whoop, the movie is still disgusting.

4) I would have been much more open to hearing what you have to say if you were not such a pompous horses ass.

5) You do not even know what you own focus is in life ... that is the reason I can so surely class you as a horse ass ... you insult me, call me ignorant, and then move on to try tell me what BS you saw in the movie after telling me you do not care what I think. Go find a real human point of view and shove your classical pomposity up your world's origin.

reply

*Sigh* Wow! Is it that time of the month already? Take it easy!

1) I don't care=I don't mind=It's OK that=You are entitled to your own opinion... Is that enough of a euphemism or would you like me to kiss your ass as well?

2) I think I pretty much explain what I enjoyed about the film, that is it's openness to interpretation. I don't believe there is no one solution and thought to this film if that's what you were looking for...

3) The painting is just one idea among others, I could be totally wrong! Isn't that great!? That's MY interpretation, you could have your own (which seems to be limited to "that's digusting", how's that for hoity-toity!?)

4) Whetever!

5) No need to get personal buddy! I just used you as an example, but my reply wasn't necessarely meant for just you as a person, but anyone who would dismiss a film or certain scenes as disgusting or pointless without even trying to delve deeper into the film...

Oh and 6) *beep* you to buddy...mm... NOW you can get personal.

reply

I wasn't the biggest fan of this film, but even I can see that the reasons given by the original poster for his dislike are flimsy at best. Why post an excruciatingly vague and rather confrontational review and then go bananas when someone points out that they disagree and that perhaps you missed a few things? Were those scenes overly gratuitous? It's a possibility, and you could certainly make a cogent argument for it. Unfortunately, that is something you did not do.

reply

I suggest you check out all the other threads bruce-129 has started or participated in. It has shed much light on the reasons behind his violent comeback regarding an earlier post of mine.

reply

Thanks for the tip, it'll save me time ever having to reply to him again.

reply

[deleted]

I must agree with you, bruce-129.

IMHO, this is just a bad movie. Hitchcock once said that bad movies showed people talking and his movies showed people thinking. Dumont's movies show people walking or riding (and eventually having sex). Maybe 40 minutes of Humanity consist of a retard (he intended to look innocent, I guest) walking around. Is that poetic??? Well, not for me, not in this movie.

I have nothing against "pornographic" scenes, if they are important to the story (like in Noe's Irreversible and Pasolini's Salo). In this case, as it concerns a rape, I wouldnt qualify them (at least the one with Joseph) as unnecessary, but all the painters of the 19th century couldnt save this movie from being boring (again, IMHO).

I usually like "slow" movies. I enjoyed Tarkovsky's Nostalgia, for instance (it looked poetic to me)... But this one...

reply

Man! If you thought that Salo was a pornographic film, I suggest seeing a therapist!
I'm quite saddened to hear you couldn't see past L'Humanite's austere veil to see Dumont's powerful insight into the human mind. Brilliant film, although I do understand why some might see it as off-putting.

Haven't seen it in ages. Too bad it's out of print now. Better find a copy before the prices are jacked up sky high!

reply

Well, maybe I need an English teacher, not a therapist. When I wrote the word "pornographic" between quotes, I didn't really mean pornographic. It works like that in all the other languages I know... but that's not the point.

You (m_duval76) seem to think that I (along with the others who dislike this film) don't like "Humanity" (I hope the quotes will work in this case) because I don't understand it, which is not the case.

I completely understood "Waterworld" and still I don't like it (there is nothing to understand in that movie, but I guess you've got the point). On the other hand, I didn't completely understand Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" at the first time I saw it, but I liked it so that I saw it again a couple of days after just to try to understand it better. I didn't work like that for Dumont's boring films.

I didn't have problems to understand "Humanity". I had problems to stay awake for the last hour of it (but I did).

I understand that some people like it. I just don't agree with them and I don't see any big deal about this movie or its meanings.

Brilliant? Powerful insight into human mind? Give me a break...

reply

[deleted]

Fair enough... Sorry for the misunderstanding about the quotes... I like to see films as a painting, some come from a more classic "school" (ah those quotes again!), using tried and true cinematic techniques and storytelling patterns, while other films can't be expressed in this way. The director tries different ways of conveying thoughts, ideas, concepts, opinions, etc. experimenting with the medium. These are usually much more difficult to break open and understand. They are confrontational in their approach and not every one will be able to appreciate this. L'Humanite is such a film. It might seem slow and boring at first, steering clear from any notions of entertainment (something Mulholland Dr. doesn't do for example). L'Humanite is like watching animals in the zoo. Sometimes you might have a chance to see how they behave together, but at other they just stand there doing nothing. Add to this a touch of the surnatural and you've got one hell of a crazy flick which is far from boring to me (even if I don't understand precisely everything Dumont is trying to say - but I do have some ideas).

I have the same "fun" trying to piece L'Humanite together as I did with Mulholland Dr., it's different approaches that's all... Sorry if some of these ideas are self-evident. Not trying to force you to like the film, just trying to make people to see it from a different angle. So many people tackle a film with preconceptions (including myself) that it's sometimes difficult to get into it. Anyway, enough babbling...

reply

I found it unwatchable, unlike the David Cronenberg-led jury that gave it three awards.

When it comes judging works at Cannes, Cronenberg's decisions are scarier than his films.

reply

Then, at the beginning there were really shocking and unnecessary scenes of the dead woman
They were meant to be shocking, it was necessary to shock viewers into feeling what Pharaon De Winter was feeling. It was necessary to force viewers to empty themselves to the point of nothing, but a nothingness that would be entirely receptive to everything that followed. It was an act of kenosis because it immediately stripped viewers of their will and forced them to be receptive to, and feel, the physical and emotional fossilization of Pharaon.
combined with a terminally slow pace
Shock and emotional pain and hopelessness and emptiness are terminally slow. They creep in at a slow pace and invade the mind and heart and soul at an even slower rate, and it takes an even slower pace before they're eradicated. Life can be terminally slow when you're completely empty inside.

The pacing is relaxed and recalcitrant because it serves as narrative metaphor for the arrested state of being of Pharaon, and his seerish receptiveness to everything around him, the pacing is a symbol for the static, banal landscape, and the pacing is a common trope for the film's pervading theme of life's futility. Human struggle, human life, the pace of life, always operates in correlation to the "pacing" of the landscape, and in L'Humanité, the little French town trudges along slower than time.

The pacing represents the character's interiour landscape (Pharaon's emotional arrest and inertia, combined with his sense of trying to decipher, seer-like, all of his observations, a tendency that obviously contrasts with how we the viewers expect an investigator to decode a crime), and in turn, the interiour landscape represents the physical environment of the character. The pacing draws back and the city roads are empty, the pacing is normal as the characters spend a day at the beach, the pacing speeds forward as Pharaon cycles through the country on an undulating ribboned road resembling the shape of vaginal lips (and he's raced the full course: he's triumphed over the path he took, the workout, the sex, is complete, conquered, but he gained no sanctification from the feat...), the pacing turns to humanity suffocating viewers as both Pharaon and the police chief feel immeasurably helpless and powerless towards solving the rape/murder (you're screaming at the screen, "do something! start interviewing people! re-interview those kids! go and track down the other bus driver and haul him in immediately! don't just stand there! ahhhhh! ahhhhhhhh!").

The pacing was a careful agencement, as pristinely assembled as the compositionally orchestrated images, whatever was right there in front of Dumont at that place and time, and whatever he brought to the place and time, a heterogeneous collection of sounds and colors and words and things, the detritus of everyday life woven with the richness of the natural environment woven with the furnishings, the bowls and cups and bones and ocean foam, the medieval architecture chaunting the timelessness of time as the waves foam and the tourists make an entire day of visiting a forte, the static field yielding death (dead girl) and life (Pharaon's garden), the Eurostar flashing past the buses and bikes and cars and human life, the rudimentary dialogue of Pharaon, Domino, Joseph and the police chief stratified into the sounds of shoes on gravel and hot collars chafing skin and the shuffling of legs and the sound of sex and the inhuman sound of factory machinery, moments in the material world once painted and cast as a picture unto itself and the pride of a museum exhibit now recast as immaterial moments representing nothing more than mere mechanical refrains, left to hang in a bedroom.

There is a clear rhythm for those who observe and listen and feel carefully.
but the movie incompetantly loses its rhythm
I thought you said the film was terminally slow? Now it has rhythm, but lost it's rhythm? The rhythm and continuity were metrically perfect, came full circle, and never missed a beat at all.
Finally at the end
Whoa Wait What happened to the other 99% of the film? [jawdrop]
what we do see is the big breakthrough, that murdered of the girl is the Pharoan's best pal, and Pharoan kisses him full on the lips while he does nothing.
Joseph was doing something. He was crying and breaking down, and he looked at Pharaon in a mixture of shock and disgust, then emptiness, when Pharaon walked away. Pharaon not only tasted the taste of crime, but sucked it right out of Joseph
I guess I do not get it, because in what fool's mind would a scene or movie play out like this.
You don't understand why a scene in a movie plays out like it's a scene in a movie?
What this seems like to me is the gay agenda being thrown up in the faces of the audience.
It's Pharaon literally tasting the crime and taking on the crime himself. That is why he is handcuffed in the final scene. Earlier, he smelled a suspect because he was trying to smell the crime.
All through the movie the very unattractive girlfriend of the murderer is shown as vulgar and stupid apparently representing women
Domino wasn't unattractive, she looked like what women really look like, and she was pretty, and she was not shown as vulgar or stupid, she was shown as victimized (we saw Joseph mistreat her and use excessive force against he during sex) and sensitive (we saw her trying to make an emotional connection with Pharaon multiple times) and observant of life around her, and clearly bored with it but unable to change the pace, and she was representing low-income working women in small cities that skirt cosmopolitan cities, not the entirety of womankind.
while the men are either cruel or stupid and dull.
Pharaon was in a state of shock but profoundly in tune with the natural environment and people around him, he was never cruel and never acted stupidly; Joseph was insensitive and aggressive, but he tried to make the best of a monotonous existence; the police chief never acted cruelly, and he was trying to solve a case with virtually no evidence and minimal resources in an old, insignificant small town; the guys at the café singing the songs were not cruel, they were just too drunk, and they were trying to make the best of a monotonous existence.
that I would say have no redeeming value or anything of interest.
That is what Pharaon thought about life. And the film does have plenty of redeeming values and interest, it's depicting a real person who despite feeling dispossessed of himself and the world, despite feeling empty and hopeless and powerless, despite feeling like he is incapable of formulating proper responses to the inhumanity he witnesses, despite his inability to make a tangible difference, he edges away from absolute nihilism and instead retains the pain he feels and handcuffs himself, he symbolically takes on and carries the wounds of humanity himself, he becomes another in a long line of biblical patriarchs whom remains hebraistic (obedient, ethical) and hieratic (self-consciously formal) in spite of the inhumanity and banality of the world, continues to till the garden and watch it blossom, challenges G-d over the inhumanity of the world, and regardless of G-d's response or lack thereof, decides to take on the weight of the crimes himself, to signify that we're all individually and collectively responsible for l'humanité.

The people interested in films like this are people who like to think for themselves, care deeply for meaningful film constructions that require intense thought, and care deeply about humanity and the meaning of life.

reply

Your whole post is length BS designed to look semi-scholarly and intellectual.
The thesis that a movie is meant to show how someone feels has a certain
validity to it, but there is a judgement to be made in art, ie. cinema about
how to make whatever statement.

For example, I don't need to know how a person feels when they are murdered
by having every gruesome detail shown, in fact that is a game these days.
We have ever more bloody, and "realistic" scenes of gore, but they are not real,
they do not show or add depth to the act of violence they are there to
titillate and show peolpe something that will raise their blood pressure.

Then, when a movie like this one, and like you do, claims some higher purpose
its foolish and stupid, like the last line of your post, paraphrases, I feel guilty
as hell watching and enjoying seeing the murdered body a woman, so I am going
to claim that people who also enjoy watching these kinds of images are extra
senstitive and think more about the meaning of life ... which you could not possibly
know even if there was any truth in it.

reply

I didn't expect anything less from you than a group of words randomly stirred together.

Just go back to the Lost board where you belong.

reply


Do you remember what the first image of the dead woman was? Can you describe it
and maybe come up with a reason why that image was used? Then, can you say that
image was not gratuitious to shock just for effect? Come down off your airs of
pomposity and just admit you are pervert who only likes to look at dirty pictures
and wants to justify that by calling it art and giving it deeper meaning.
I'm sure it will be very llberating to see yourself as you really are and admit it. ;-)

reply

I already did.

If you read what I originally said, you'd know that.

But you are what IMDb labels an internet troll, which means I have nothing more to say to you.

People on the Lost board might feed you, but nobody here will.

Sayanara.

reply

> But you are what IMDb labels an internet troll, which means I have nothing more to say to you.

Translation: Now i am going declare victory and retreat to cry, pout and feel bad because i lost the argument I started, boo hoo!

reply

Geez! Bruce... can you EVER simply give your arguments without insulting everyone else who doesn't agree with you!? You do this ALL THE TIME!!!! And then you wonder why he/she is labeling you a troll!?

reply

I'm fairly selective in who I insult, but you are over-generalizing me from one post. And I am not wondering anything, I could care less, how long does it take to use the "art" defense that any shocking thing is some kind of brilliant art. It isn't.

reply

The problem is you're an idiot.

Oh whisky, leave me alone.

reply

@bruce-129

There's nothing that can be done for you short of giving you straw bedding.

Movement ends, intent continues;
Intent ends, spirit continues

reply

Why do so many people usually men seem to be content on judging women on their looks and then acting and feeling bad if to them they look "unattractive"?

reply

Especially given how this movie, albeit in a not too judgmental way to allow the audience to interpret it as they see it, shows just how ugly some people can be on the INSIDE as to allow themselves to brutally violate and murder a vulnerable 11 year old child like that.

reply