Man Bites Dog | Chicago Reader

Man Bites Dog

In theory this well-shot, low-budget, black-and-white pseudodocumentary and satiric dark comedy (1992), codirected by and starring Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, and Benoit Poelvoorde, should have been scathing. (The original French title literally means “It Happened Close to Where You Live.”) A documentary crew headed by director Belvaux and cameraman Bonzel film the exploits of a small-town serial killer and tiresome autodidact (Poelvoorde) who carefully explains his techniques and airs his opinions about life and art; gradually the crew become more and more implicated in the killer's crimes, which include rape and theft as well as murder. The media's heroizing of serial killers is certainly ripe for unpacking, but this bold yet rather self-satisfied treatment of the theme often seems nearly as heartless and exploitive as what it's attacking. What emerges is fairly original in look and feel, but not terribly convincing. In French with subtitles. NC-17, 95 min.

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