Tuesday, November 20, 2012

25 Horror Films: #1


Twentynine Palms (Bruno Dumont, 2003)

Dumont possesses the uncanny ability to film humans as though he were a National Geographic photographer on safari. And like the wildlife photographer, he's particularly interested in predatory relationships, whether they be physical or emotional (see above). The sex in his films has the detached feel of the ethologist's lens, and it's often—just as it is in the animal kingdom—linked closely with domination, violence, and rape.

I've never seen a film that so readily embraces the view that human beings are motivated by their basest desires (men especially), and that we're nothing but animals in the worst sense of the word (Dumont would likely counter that his view is a neutral one). Considering that the course of human history probably more easily and readily supports Dumont's view than it does various other more inspiring and optimistic alternatives, and considering that I'm constantly struggling in my own life to avoid falling into contempt and misanthropy by trying to focus on what's best and most beautiful in us as a species instead of dwelling on what's worst, the fact that Dumont so openly and forcefully reminds us of our animal origin—and then proceeds to rub our faces in its eternal inescapability—makes Twentynine Palms, for me, the most disturbing and terrifying film ever made.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

In his fifth film, Hadewijch, Dumont begins to break from this view.