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Seul Contre Tous [VHS] [1999]

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Philippe Nahon, Blandine Lenoir, Frankie Pain, Martine Audrain, Zaven
  • Directors: Gaspar Noé
  • Writers: Gaspar Noé
  • Producers: Gaspar Noé, Lucile Hadzihalilovic
  • Language: French
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Alliance Atlantis
  • VHS Release Date: 17 April 2000
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00004RCPT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,616 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

In 1980 France, embittered butcher Jean Chevalier (Philippe Nahon) is released from prison to move in with his pregnant mistress in Lille. Jean's wife abandoned him years ago, believing (wrongly) that he seduced their autistic daughter, Cynthia (Blandine Lenoir). Jean is forced to move on when his mistress falsely accuses him of infidelity, and he moves back into the hotel room where Cynthia was conceived. His attempts to find work are all frustrated, and Jean considers taking desperate measures to end the bleakness of his existence.


Focusing on a few trauma-packed days in the life of a misanthropic French horse-meat butcher who has plans that just might be murderous, Gasper Noé's Seul Contre Tous is an incendiary exercise in the cinema of cruelty. Shocking, abrasive and, admittedly, a smidgen pretentious, it is none the less one of the boldest and most memorable films to emerge from the European art-house scene in the last 10 years. The opening series of still photographs accompanied by voice-over tell us the story which formed Noé's first 40-minute feature Carné: working-class anti-hero Jean Chevalier (played by brute-featured Phillippe Nahon) has done time for killing a man he thought had raped his autistic daughter Cynthia (Blandine Lenoir). Now back out and living with his shrewish pregnant mistress, his self-loathing and contempt for what life has dealt him boil up into a rage that leads to violence. Hitchhiking to Paris with a gun in his pocket, he unsuccessfully seeks work, watches a porn film (digitally blurred by the British censors to spare viewers' sensibilities) and then finds the daughter he left behind years before. It all leads up to a traumatic climax that Noé flags with a title-card countdown warning us we have 30 seconds to leave the cinema (read switch off the VCR or DVD player if you are planning to watch it home). What follows is indeed nauseating and disturbing, but ultimately redemptive and moving as well. As if that weren't warning enough, throughout the film the blast of a shotgun echoes from the film's future, accompanied by shock-cut jump-zooms lurching us further into the frame, one of the film's most arresting techniques.

You could easily tease out the influences at work here: the abject poetry of writers such as Céline and Beckett; the alienated lone-gunman psychology of Scorsese's Taxi Driver; the stylistic, neo-Brechtian flourishes of the French New Wave. But if Noé steals, he steals from the best, and in the process has crafted something wholly original and bracingly against the grain. --Leslie Felperin

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