TIFF 2011 - Outside Satan - Featured

TIFF 2011: Outside Satan Review

TIFF 2011 - Outside Satan

Everyone, from the most devout Catholic to effusive evangelist, has a concept of Jesus and Satan, and what he or she would look like if they ever manifested in human form. But there is no concept, and the devil, or Jesus, could be a rich man or a strange drifter. Award-winning French director Bruno Dumont ‘s new film Outside Satan is a strange, disquieting and disturbing film about a drifter who could be Jesus or Satan, or perhaps both.

Set in northwest France on the Atlantic coast, a drifter befriends a young woman who is being abused by her father, and does her the favour of killing him. He refuses her romantic advances, and other killings occur, as well as a miracle. Is this man supernatural enough to bring the dead back to life? Or just a serial killer who forms strange attachments? The film is as haunting and desolate as the landscape it shows. On the surface it would seem to be realism at its barest bones, with no score and very little dialogue to guide the audience.  And it is that realism that makes its supernatural tendencies all the more disturbing. There is no fanfare around them, and the young woman and others accept them at face value. As they characters walk from forest to beach under near constant cloud cover, with little hope of change, people bond over the darkest circumstances. A slow-moving yet compelling film.

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