Flanders written and directed by Bruno Dumont
9 out of 10
Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
There is much in Flanders that makes me think of past and present experiences.
It is a very good film.
Flanders has won:
- The Grand Prize of the Jury at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival
Given that this is the most important appreciation of a motion picture- Academy Awards and golden Globes are more commercially orientated and therefore their winners are less relevant than those of Cannes- the value of Flanders is established.
Being facetious, I would say that I recognize my neighbors in some of the heroes of the movie, the negative personages of course.
There is a sense of amorality about the sex that takes place in this narrative.
In the first place I was tempted to say that the heroine, Barbe is immoral, considering the placid, cold way in which she gives herself.
But then some people are more restrained, shy, embarrassed to express emotions and they tend to keep it to themselves.
Then the life on the farm is not easy and even if farmers do not necessarily become brutish, that environment is an impediment to developing perfect communication skills.
In some ways, this film has reminded me of Romanian ones, with long silences, periods in which there seems to be nothing happening…
Not something exciting.
But the other possibility is that these countryside men and women communicate on another, perhaps deeper level.
They do not need extravagant expressions and sophisticated, intellectual exchanges and understand life’s meaning better.
Barbe is walking with her neighbor and “copain” Andre Demester, through the fields and the woods until she stops.
She takes her pants down, showing her vagina and then the two engage in sex, without taking any cloths off.
More important, the feelings, passion, maybe even the attraction was in question, even if, as I mentioned, there are at least two ways to look at this strange behavior.
Later on, when they have a talk- that is a total of six words are uttered, to be facetious yet again-near a fire, Barbe starts kissing another mate…
- Amoral? Perhaps
Some of the young men are joining the army and are sent to a land in Africa –it seems- near a desert region.
They are gradually more involved in violence and ultimately in war crimes, of despicable, horrible nature.
It is also true, even if in no way justifying that they had come under fire, before first immobilizing, undressing and then raping this local woman.
Andre Demester is one of those involved in this gruesome war crime and it is just the beginning of a series of terrifying events.
A local man is travelling with a pack of mules when he is stopped by this army unit, humiliated and then…killed.
“All is fair and love and war” – this is a stupid saying, disapproved by this film among many others, in which the obscene face of war is shown.
Right after they kill the native man who apparently did nothing wrong, the white soldiers are fired upon and taken prisoners.
The other side in this strange conflict is not perfect or without fault and it pays back for the rape and murder committed by the Europeans.
The young woman victim of rape and abuse is there to identify the attackers and send them for harsh, cruel punishment?
- Is it deserved? It all comes back to that insane saying- is all fair in love and war? Some in this movie surely think so