C’Est Arrive Pres de Chez Vous Man Bites Dog

Also with Jean-Marc Chenut, Alain Oppezzi, Vincent Tavier.

Ben ... Benoit Poelvoorde Reporter ... Remy Belvaux Cameraman ... Andre Bonzel

Also with Jean-Marc Chenut, Alain Oppezzi, Vincent Tavier.

PARIS–Reality programming meets “Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer” in “Man Bites Dog,” an offbeat, darkly hilarious portrait of a freelance hit man whose every move is recorded by a documentary film crew.

Well served by black & white verite-style lensing, mordant send-up of questionable news-gathering practices was written, produced and directed by its stars, a Franco-Belgian trio whose first feature provides clever patter with its splatter. Violent yet trenchant, potential sleeper should attract a cult following and will look just right on video.

Youthful hit man Ben (Benoit Poelvoorde, an appealing performer who could pass for a Belgian cousin to Robert Englund of “Nightmare on Elm Street” fame) is both a philosopher and a man of action. When he’s not killing people (more than two dozen graphic murders are committed in the course of the film), Ben plays chamber music and recites poetry. Urbane and opinionated, he is appalled by flaws in business conduct, rails against shoddy architecture, critiques painting and theater and stands by friends and family.

Popular on Variety

A font of both practical and esoteric knowledge, Ben scares an old woman into cardiac arrest in order to “save on bullets,” then strips the house of hidden cash. In one great bit, Ben slaughters a rival team of reporters simply because they’re using videotape instead of film stock.

Filmmakers cook up enough situations to yield a well-balanced report on an unbalanced character. With evolving irony, camera crew is not immune from danger or from the seductive lure of Ben’s lifestyle. At first reluctant even to dine with their immoral subject, crew graduates to joining in on the gang rape and disembowelment of a woman in her own home.

Not for the righteous or the squeamish, irreverent film follows though to its logical conclusion.

Apart from an amusingly tasteless segment in which the recipe for a mixed drink makes reference to a sensational French child murder case of the ’80s, French-lingo pic is accessible to hip audiences everywhere, provided subtitles accurately capture the jaunty tone of Ben’s running commentary. Pic will be most resonant in markets where reality programming has made major inroads.

C'Est Arrive Pres de Chez Vous Man Bites Dog


Production: A Les Artistes Anonymes production. Produced by Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, Benoit Poelvoorde. Directed by Remy Belvaux. Assistant director and production manager, Vincent Tavier; screenplay by Belvaux, Bonzel, Poelvoorde, Tavier.

Crew: Camera (B&W), Bonzel; editors, Eric Dardill, Belvaux; music, Jean-Marc Chenut; sound, Alain Oppezzi, Tavier; special effects, Olivier de Lavelaye; assistant director, Tavier. Reviewed at CNC screening room, Paris (in Cannes, Critics Week), April 21, 1992. Running time: 95 min.

With: Ben ... Benoit Poelvoorde Reporter ... Remy Belvaux Cameraman ... Andre Bonzel

More Film

  • Harvey Weinstein deliberation

    Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial: Prosecutors Claim Donna Rotunno Op-Ed Is Jury Tampering

    Deliberations in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial are slated to begin on Tuesday, but there were plenty of fireworks even before Justice James Burke could give jurors instructions, with prosecutors accusing the former movie mogul’s lawyers of jury tampering. Before the jury was called in, prosecutors vociferously objected to a Newsweek op-ed, penned by Weinstein’s lead [...]

  • Justin Timberlake

    Mr Smith Goes to Berlin with Fisher Stevens’ ‘Palmer,’ Starring Justin Timberlake

    U.K. sales agency Mr Smith Entertainment will bring “Palmer” onto the market at this year’s Berlinale. Starring Justin Timberlake and directed by Academy Award winning director Fisher Stevens (Best Documentary Feature – “The Cove” with Louis Psihoyos; “Before the Flood”), the dramatic feature has been buzzing since shooting was announced last fall. Written by Cheryl [...]

  • Numbers

    Oleg Sentsov on Latido Pick-Up ‘Numbers,’ Directed from a Gulag (EXCLUSIVE)

    BERLIN – For the last six years, for Europe’s movie community at least, the most famous political prisoner in the world was the Ukraine’s Oleg Sentsov. Arrested on trumped-up charges of terrorism in 2014 – Amnesty International compared his court case to the show trials of Stalin – Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment [...]

  • Michel Hazanavicius'The Specials' premiere and closing

    Michel Hazanavicius To Lead Sarajevo Festival Jury

    Academy Award-winning French director Michel Hazanavicius will lead the jury of the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival. The festival will run from Aug. 14 to 21, 2020. After breaking out in France with the Jean Dujardin-led spy farces “OSS: 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies,” and “OSS: 117: Lost in Rio,” the French director broke onto the [...]

  • Run Lola Run

    ‘Run Lola Run’ Set for Bollywood Remake Through Sony and Ellipsis

    Sony Pictures Films India, Ellipsis Entertainment and Aayush Maheshwari (“Baji” and “Ugly”) will co-produce “Looop Lapeta,” an official Bollywood remake of Tom Tykwer’s 1998 German film “Run Lola Run.” In the original, Franka Potente is in a race against time, having just 20 minutes to get a large sum of money in order to save [...]

  • Cannes Fest Unveils Gender-Balanced Selection Committee

    Cannes Fest Unveils Gender-Balanced Selection Committee

    The first international festival to have signed the pledge for gender equality in 2018, the Cannes Film Festival now boasts a new selection committee including five women and five men. The names of the committee members were unveiled by Thierry Fremaux, the director of Cannes Film Festival, and Christian Jeune, the head of the department [...]

  • Ronnie James Dio Documentary Coming From

    Ronnie James Dio Documentary Coming From BMG (EXCLUSIVE)

    The next feature-length film from BMG will be the first-ever career-spanning documentary on legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio. Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most influential hard rock vocalists of all time, Dio fronted Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Elf, Heaven & Hell and his own eponymous band over the course of a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content