The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Whether you love or hate his work, French filmmaker Bruno Dumont always makes original, intense, at the same time, provocative movies. Set in a small village, Hors Satan is about an odd friendship between a young girl and a homeless man.
For the entire movie, we never hear their names. The man is apathetic, she is a faithful believer. In the daily routine, time flows slowly and inexorably, like in a dream.
Not much seems to happen at first, but suddenly, the girl prepares food for him, and he teaches her how to kill a man. It's disturbing - the simplicity of the events and the intriguing mix of good and evil.
Later, a woman summons the man to cure her daughter, and he performs the miracle. Something further happens, and he saves the entire village. Who is this man, a saint or a demon?
The ambiguity is strong, but overall, this is not a movie that requires a final verdict. What really stands out is the isolation of the poorest, abandoned to their destiny and their misery.
Long static shots, minimal dialogue and an almost total absence of action make this a challenging movie to watch. It is beautifully shot, capturing the landscape magnificently, by Yves Cape.
In one hour and 50 minutes, Dumont forces the viewer to watch a different reality, mixing the disturbing and the beatification - it is at once fascinating in its sincerity and disquieting in its frankness, and it's hard not to admire the film's poetic honesty.
It was called "pretentious" by some critics, and "a masterpiece" by others. Personally, I support the second view.