Judging by the reactions thus far from previous comments to this film, the sheer force of Bruno Dumont's singular vision with its incessant emotional, physical and sexual violence is clearly too much for some people's sensibilities. If the bleakness, bitterness and pessimism of Flanders weigh heavily or the relentless brutality of the film causes offense however, that is certainly the film's intention.
Plainly presented and unadorned by allegory, symbolism or didacticism, never patronising the viewer or browbeating them to take a calculatedly predetermined and politically-correct stance, Dumont pushes boundaries of realism into pure expressionism. Flanders is a film that must simply be felt. Whether that response is compassion for the characters or revulsion matters not, and it certainly has no bearing on assessments of the quality of the film. Its purpose is to challenge the viewer and force them to confront sensations they may not wish to acknowledge, but are inherently part of human nature. And by any standard, Flanders certainly achieves that, brilliantly and forcefully.