Picks and Pans Review: Humanité

updated 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Emmanuel Schotté, Séverine Caneele

In this glacially paced but weirdly compelling film by French filmmaker Bruno Dumont, a police detective (Schotté) in a rural village investigates the rape and murder of a girl. As he ploddingly works on the case, he also becomes increasingly obsessed with his voluptuous neighbor (Caneele) and her loutish boyfriend (Philippe Tullier). He hangs out with them, even spying on their carnal couplings. But mostly he just looks sad, profoundly and utterly sad. As Humanité's enigmatic final shot hints, he may have ample reason to be. What does it all mean? That the line between civilized behavior and animal instinct is tissue thin, or just that the French overintellectualize everything? (Not rated)

Bottom Line: Exceedingly slow but grows on you

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