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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of Belgian cinema, and I'm not joking!
Anyone asked to name a classic of Belgian cinema can simply point to this film, a production all the more remarkable for its bargain basement provenance. Made by three film students with a budget which makes shoestrings look like a luxury, "Man Bites Dog" ("C'est arrivé près de chez vous") is proof that making a memorable movie depends more on talent and a...
Published on 8 May 2005 by Budge Burgess

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A day in the life of a serial killer...
A sort of serial killing This Is Spinal Tap without the jokes, as a satire Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde's Man Bites Dog just isn't very funny. The film is more a stylistic exercise and intellectual essay on cinema's relationship with violence, and as such is open to endless debate and reinterpretation.

The film follows the exploits of the...
Published on 5 Dec 2007 by Trevor Willsmer


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of Belgian cinema, and I'm not joking!, 8 May 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Anyone asked to name a classic of Belgian cinema can simply point to this film, a production all the more remarkable for its bargain basement provenance. Made by three film students with a budget which makes shoestrings look like a luxury, "Man Bites Dog" ("C'est arrivé près de chez vous") is proof that making a memorable movie depends more on talent and a good story than on vast amounts of capital and an over-indulgence in special effects.
Three young film makers follow the exploits of Benoit, a mass murderer and petty criminal, and document his philosophy of life and pride in the professionalism of his work. Benoit murders people, quite instrumentally, to obtain money. Or because they get in the way. He's not a 'serial' killer with a fixation about a victim type or a drive to assert himself. He's just a guy, going about his business. The murders, the crimes are shocking because they occur in such a natural setting - the killing is unheralded, unanticipated.
"I usually start the month with a postman!" Even killer's have their routines. Benoit explains his theories about robbery and murder, provides a masterclass in the disposal of bodies, expresses his concerns about the murder of children (it attracts too much media attention), and recounts his theories about why old people are better bets for robbery than the middle classes.
It is a film of quite shocking, deliberately disturbing violence, not least in the casual nature of the rape scene. Shot in naturalistic manner - black and white, hand held camera, exactly as if three young film makers are keeping a documentary diary of the crimes and lifestyle of a criminal. Made before the worst excesses of reality TV began to bite in Europe, it nevertheless anticipates the popular fascination with the mundane, and the ongoing appetite for murder and horror, and asks very real questions about the collaboration between the media and sensation.
The film crew, indeed, collaborate with Benoit and act as accessories - being shot at themselves, confronting another film crew following another criminal. The humour of the film is a pulsing vein. This is a film to be enjoyed as a satire. This is a film to be taken very, very seriously.
Benoit airs his views on women, race, housing, the elderly. He is the narrator. He moralises about life - he is a criminal, but his crimes follow a logic and adhere to his own brand of morality. He rants like a populist politician. The crew observe. The media, it seems, can give anyone a voice and make them seem important. But, of course, the media is only feeding the curiosity and appetites of an audience. Does the media pander to public tastes ... or does it create public taste?
The criminal makes no plans. He acts spontaneously. His is a life of instant gratification, a chaotic lifestyle of self-glorification made all the more marvellous by the attentions of a film crew. Benoit poses, one moment the urbane intellectual spouting poetry and philosophy, the next brutally attacking an unsuspecting victim. He's coarse, vulgar, intolerant, arrogant, a bully, utterly self-centred ... yet the film crew elevate him to the role of star. And we watch, transfixed, wondering where the tale will take us next.
A wonderful film, beautifully assembled, which poses question after question about the art (and morality) of film making. In fact, the only question it answers is the one about naming a classic of Belgian cinema. Award winning, influential, delightful, with a very funny spoof superhero trailer as one of the DVD extras, this is a highly recommended film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A day in the life of a serial killer..., 5 Dec 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
A sort of serial killing This Is Spinal Tap without the jokes, as a satire Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde's Man Bites Dog just isn't very funny. The film is more a stylistic exercise and intellectual essay on cinema's relationship with violence, and as such is open to endless debate and reinterpretation.

The film follows the exploits of the smug, self-satisfied Benoit Poelvoorde as he goes about his daily work - murder for pleasure and profit - with a low-budget black and white documentary film crew in tow. The crew become seduced by the violence they 'document', carrying on with an interview while holding down a child for him to kill and participating in and instigating a gang rape. They are untouched by the horror of his actions until it directly affects them, most particularly in a sort of running joke in which their soundmen keep getting killed.

This complicity between filmmakers and life-takers is compounded by the fact that the film's killer and camera crew all use their real names on screen. There is certainly an inherent element of criticism of the artist's acceptance of violence as a form of self-expression - not only the film crew but a female musician Poelvoorde knows accept his actions as just being 'his work.'

The violence is shocking, as it should be, more for this casual acceptance (although the most genuinely disturbing moment is the fraction of a second when Poelvoorde's laughter dies and is immediately replaced by a grim face after the music lesson), but is never openly condemned. Since none of the characters on screen exercise any morality, it is up to the viewer to bring his or her morality to bear on the picture. Not always easy viewing, the film is ultimately more interesting for the issues it raises about filmmakers and filmgoers complicity in screen violence than for what is actually on screen.

The picture quality is acceptable given the film's extremely low budget origins. Less so are the subtitles, frequently illegible as they are printed white-on-white.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Natural Born Filmmakers, 23 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Duh! For the information of the reviewer who thinks Les Artistes Anonymes are dredging over themes already explored by Tarantino's gaudy flick, Man Bites Dog is the earlier film!!! Natural Born Killers is an embarassingly self-aware, queasy piece of postmodern posturing; Man Bites Dog is all the more disturbing for the naturalness that it never strays from. Although at times it can be very funny (perhaps the specific gravity of Belgian humour is hard to fathom) it is, in my opinion, being mis-sold as a "black comedy". This is a very violent film, and let's stop pussyfooting around with euphemisms about the kinds of violence: it contains a shocking rape scene. People should not be encouraged to see the film without being warned about that.
For my money, this is no spoof: it is absurdist perhaps, but that is a different matter. Austin Powers is a spoof of James Bond films, the relations are easy to identify. How and of what is this a spoof? A small film-crew film a killer (and he is not really a "serial-killer" either) going about his grim work; he regards it as a job. Absurd perhaps. But don't expect a spoof or a black comedy, you'll probably be disappointed.
Like many great twentieth-century works of art it shows a great (if disturbed) sense of humour, but it is also a powerful meditation on the glamorisation and worship of violence, and the complicity of such acts in the crimes that we love to gape at. But no pat observations, and no simple conclusions. The end is ample proof of that. Unlike NBK it is oblique and serious, and all the more capable of being funny because of that.
And can we start a campaign to get it renamed? The nudge-nudge, wink-wink in-joke on new journalism's penchant for reporting the story that sells rather than the one that happens is pretty irrelevant. The French title is "C'est arrive pres de chez vous" i.e. "It happened near you(/your home)". Watch it, and think about both titles. The current English one is catchy but ill-fitting. Sure, anyone can bodge up an argument for keeping it, but Les Artistes Anonymes chose a very different title; did such good writers really miss the better trick? Shame about the occasional white on white sub-titles too, the DVD release was a wasted opportunity to fix that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nasty but worth it!, 16 Nov 2006
By 
sean paul mccann "mccanns23" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
man bites dog was made by three film students in belgium,it is shot in black and white,and is about a film crew following around a man who is the definition of glorified killer,he has no remorse,no reason to kill other than pilfer and destroy and enjoys being a celebrity,albeit,he thinks he will when the documentary gets releases,not thinking it would mean prison.
He is sadistic yet very normal at the same time,loves his family and is highly intelligent,he speaks of many things and can break into classical poetry at any time,he also attempts to teach the film crew bits of his knowledge,but ultimately he is there to entertain them wth killings,and after a while the crew begin to enjoy what they are witness too.
The film doesnt explain how the concept of film makers and killer came about,did they place an ad for one,we dont know,but we really shouldnt care,murder and the extreme side of violence take over before long anyway.
The film certainly has humour but relies on its violence just a little to save itself,with nothing in terms of moral,it is fair that many will like this and with annoying subtitles which can be hard to read,i had to use a little of my own french to get by at times,i aint that good though,this is reason to take a star off,but four stars is what it is and thats a good review from a low budget film without a soul.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must see & must have !!!, 7 Dec 2006
By 
De Vlieger "narco" (Aix, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Here's a movie that you either love or hate ( I belong to the first group !!). Made with a student budget, black & white, handheld camera-work, but sheer genius. Makes "natural born killers" look like a bad B-movie. The classic example of the belgian "film noir" : morbid humour of the second degree.

There are but few films that I saw more than twice. This one, I must have watched it 6 or 7 times already...as have a lot of my friends. When you meet someone for the first time and he has seen the movie, it's just a matter of time before you're in a bar, quoting and laughing out loud.

Try to see it before buying : if you like it, you'll want to buy it !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best moc-docs ever, 25 Mar 2010
By 
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Man Bites Dog is a brilliant satire on media complicity - crime is the biggest staple news story, with murder top of the list. And the more gruesome and pointless the murders the better - especially if it's a serial killer who's a sexual sadist.
This complicity is not just confined to news, as the serial killer (both real and or fictional) regularly appears in feature films; and sometimes even as the 'hero'.
Man Bites Dog takes both these elements: the factual - the film is in a documentary style, and the fictional - it obviously isn't true. A documentary film crew is seeking to make a documentary about the local serial killer on the cheap, and their presence serves to encourage a chain of incidents, at first funny, which become more and more grotesque and ultimately almost unwatchably sickening.
Forget about most of the moc-docs made after the advent of digital, this is the real deal. According to the Salford Film Festival programmer, Steve Balshaw, it's only bettered by the forthcoming "Diary of a Bad Lad" which puts the Guy Ritchie-type view of the 'gangster' under the same sort of microscope.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Black & black (or Some Dos and Don'ts), 11 Dec 2009
By 
Franco Milazzo (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Do not see this fim if you are squeamish. Do not see this film if you don't like subtitles (esp. white-text subtitles that occasionally disappear against a white background). Do not see this film is the very concepts of murder, racism, misogyny, rape and body disposal fill you with disgust. Do not see this film if you read the Daily Mail. Do not see this film if you want to know what the title is about.

Do see this film for its pitch-black humour. Do see this film for an idea of how a little money, some sublime acting and a great script can make a big impact. Do see this film if you believe reality TV started with Big Brother. Do see this film if you want to see your fellow humans laugh at murder and cringe at rape. Do see this this film if you want to know how to dispose of adults, children, dwarves, nightguardsmen, pensioners and/or postmen. Do see this film to see where Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth and the guy behind Dexter got some of their inspiration.

See this alone, or see it with some friends but I suggest you do see it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Brilliant, 6 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Man Bites Dog [DVD] (DVD)
This is a real must-see for movie fans. Amazingly fresh and original idea and has some laugh out loud moments, but also very disturbing and not for the faint hearted
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing....., 6 Mar 2013
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Perhaps it's just me but.....what a waste of an afternoon, very unengaging experience...Clockwork Orange violence....underwhelmed by whole thing (felt like it was a poor film student offering).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nearly amazing...., 21 May 2010
By 
Mr. N. EVANS (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
If you are a fan of indie or foreign cinema, Man Bites Dog should definitely be on your "to watch" list. We, the audience, are given the opportunity to spend time with Benoit, an intelligent serial killer with a dry wit and a taste for the finer things in life.

Given the nature of his chosen lifestyle, Benoit's dark humour and light heartedness is infectious and disturbing at the same time, especially when children are involved. He kills without thought, and shows no emotion or remorse whatsoever for the most part of the film - and this is eventually what makes the ending of the film so special (that's me tyring to be vague!)

However, I did find myself wanting to like this film a lot more than I actually did. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but it eemed to lack that "je ne sais quois" and at times I found myself losing concentration.

Overall - a darkly funny movie that will disturb and delight fans of original indie cinema!
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Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993]
Man Bites Dog [1992] [DVD] [1993] by Rémy Belvaux (DVD - 2000)
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