Rémy Belvaux: Man Bites Dog

The film follows a crew of filmmakers following a serial killer, recording his horrific crimes for a documentary they are producing.

By Balthazar Malevolent

Rémy Belvaux: Man Bites Dog

C'est arrivé près de chez vous is a satirical Belgian black comedy pseudo-documentary. In this film, a film crew follows a serial killer, recording his crimes and their own grotesque commentary for the documentary they are making. Beginning as impartial observers, they find themselves drawn into increasingly chaotic violence.

Benoît is a charming and charismatic young man, in a healthy relationship with his mother, who plays the piano and has long discussions about everything that comes to mind, be it architecture, philosophy, pigeons or classical music. He is also a serial killer who burgles for a living. A film crew of three joins Benoît on his sadistic adventures, recording them as a non-interfering documentary. Benoît introduces them to his parents and friends while explaining in detail the intricacies of his craft.

Benoît then visits an area with high-rise buildings, explaining that it is more economical to attack old people than young couples as the former have more cash and are easier to kill. In the next scene, he shouts loudly at an old woman, causing her to have a heart attack. As she lies dying, he casually remarks that this method has saved him a bullet. Benoît goes on with his stories and murders, picking on anyone who gets in his way: women, children, immigrants, and postmen - his favorite pastime. He even kills an acquaintance while celebrating his own birthday when everyone is eating dessert.

The members of the film crew, who at first perceive Benoît aloof and wary, gradually become involved, at first as mere spectators, but over time becoming more and more involved in the murders. During the filming one cameraman dies, followed by another. Their deaths are referred to in the director's cut as an industrial risk.

After an unsuccessful attempt to murder the postman Benoît is arrested, but he soon escapes from prison. He finds his girlfriend Valérie murdered in a particularly brutal way and then it turns out that his mother has also been murdered. Benoît decides to leave town and goes to check on his hiding place in a dilapidated house. The last thing the camera captures is Benoît being shot dead by an unseen vigilante and then the director being shot, the cameraman trying to escape and finally, the cameraman himself as the camera falls out of his hands.

The film was shot on black and white film and was produced with an extremely small budget by four students under the direction of director Rémy Belvaux. The idea for the film came from a discussion about how to make a documentary with no money. Much of the funding for the film came from the Belgian province of Namur and from the families and friends of the filmmakers, many of whom appear in the film, although some were unaware of the controversial nature of its content. According to an essay written by André Bonzel (second director), the family of Benoît Poelvoorde (third director) knew nothing about the film's plot. Benoît's mother thought they were making an ordinary documentary and had no idea that the footage would be used in a film in which Benoît is a serial killer.

Rémy Belvaux - Man Bites Dog
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