Saturday, December 28, 2013

Angels and Sinners

Flanders (2007) - Dumont Image
It's a northern rural non-descript French town in winter. Livestocks, mud and snow. Andre (Samuel Boidin), a hulking, young farmer is due to ship out to a war along with some other village men. He has casual sex with Barbe (Adélaïde Leroux), angelic looking village slut on the frozen ground near a hedgerow. The boys ship out to a hellish war in some desert country (Afghanistan probably). Barbe has a miscarriage and a nervous breakdown. The baby wasn't Andre's but his army buddy, Blondel's. Andre ends leaving Blondel behind enemy lines to die. If this sounds like Notebook or a Green Day music video, I can assure you Flanders is far from that.

Dumont's parable on the higher power and its unconditional love is embodied by non-professional actors as usual. In ordinary people at their base level is where Dumont finds fallen angels and sinners who are capable of forgiveness and unspeakable acts. Adélaïde Leroux here is the fallen angel who sees all but accepts Andre's sins. Flanders is not as striking, but colder and more austere than Dumont's other films. But it's still deeply moving.

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