Director: Remy Belvaux and Andre' Bonzel Year of Release:1992 Running Time: 95 min
Man Bites Dog a chilling look at the media's fascination and sometimes symbiotic relationship to violent crime. Set in modern day Belgium, the film follows a group of aspiring filmmakers who follow around Ben, a vicious yet charismatic serial killer and document his horrific exploits. Has the filmmakers become more personally involved with Ben's personal life and take a more active role in Ben's activities, the line between observes/reporters and accomplices becomes blurred and finally shattered. Shot in stark black and white, the film's low budget feel adds greatly to its realism, but it's unmistakeably well made and acted, with Benoit Poelvoorde giving a magnetic, bloodcurdling performance as the chilling, talkative Ben. With it's pervasively bleak, somewhat nihilistic worldview and cold, savage scenes of brutality and cruelty, Man Bites Dog is a disturbing and sometimes tough film to watch, but viewers who choose to do so will find this to be a thought provoking, unflinchingly visceral, if sometimes a bit exploitative look at our collective voyeurism.
Availability: Man Bites Dog is available from the Criterion Collection.