87 minutes

Albert Dupontel wrote, directed, and stars as the title character, a 32-year-old cipher who finally leaves the orphanage where he was raised, hoping to find the parents who abandoned him, and gets involved with a beautiful junkie (the charmingly cranky Claude Perron). Most of the intended laughs in this 1996 French bad-taste comedy consist of wince-inducing violence: Bernie bites the head off a canary, beats a woman to death with a pipe, and tears out a black man's braids. Someone getting hit with a shovel can be funny, but not when the sound effects are this realistic. In French with subtitles.

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