Director: Bruno Dumont
Starring: Emmanuel Schotté, Séverine Caneele, Philippe Tullier
Duration: 148 min.
When an 11-year-old girl is brutally raped and murdered in a quiet French village, a police detective who has forgotten how to feel emotions, because of the death of his own family in a tragic accident, investigates the crime, which turns out to ask more questions than it answers.
Humanity is a film written and directed by Bruno Dumont. His second feature film, it premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, winning the Grand Prize of the Jury, and the Best Actor (Emmanuel Schotté) and Best Actress (Séverine Caneele) awards.
The film is a deep character study starring non-professional actors that feels very much like a modern Bresson work. The central character Pharoan (Emmanuel Schotté) is fascinating, even though he is far too dim witted to be a police investigator investigating a brutal murder, and his expressionless face is almost impossible to read, he has a strangely captivating presence.
It's also a very slow film by anyone's standards, the plot takes a backseat to Pharoan's daily life. Dumont chooses to show many mundane moments, and also raw and graphic images, that most other directors wouldn't dare shoot. However, the point of the film is not a murder mystery but rather a very intimate portrait of a tortured soul. At that it succeeds very well and really manages to be a great existential work of art with a profound ending. Still Dumont doesn't make it easy for anyone to stick around and appreciate the message.
— Bonjour Tristesse