Man Bites Dog (C'est Arrivé Près de Chez Vous) (1992)

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Released 8-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Pas De C4 Pour Daniel Daniel
Notes-Reviews
Gallery
Biographies-Cast
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 94:03
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Benoît Poelvoorde
Rémy Belvaux
André Bonzel
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Benoît Poelvoorde
Rémy Belvaux
André Bonzel
Jean-Marc Chenut
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $36.95 Music Jean-Marc Chenut
Laurence Dufrene


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.44:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, frequently
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

A note here: C'est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous actually translates into English as something along the lines of "This has occurred near you", so I don't know how they came up with Man Bites Dog.

    C'est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous, or Man Bites Dog as it is known in English-speaking countries, is one of the more unusual independent films that has been released in the past twenty years. Filmed using grainy black-and-white film on a similar budget to Mad Max, it seems to delight in revolting its audiences with graphic depictions of murder, but its true strength lies in the mockumentary style with which it is executed. At times, the difference between a film crew shooting an actor playing a mercenary turned serial killer and a film crew filming a real mercenary turned serial killer is difficult to discern. Considering that the film was produced over a two and a half year period on the sort of budget that would equal lunch money on Hollywood blockbusters these days, it is no surprise that the whole thing looks like a bad television show from the 1940s.

    Ben (Benoît Poelvoorde) is the aforementioned man who kills both for pleasure and to make a living, a way of life that the film crew shooting him make their primary concern. Accompanied by a reporter named Remy (Rémy Belvaux), a cameraman named Andre (André Bonzel), and a sound man named Patrick (Jean-Marc Chenut), Ben proceeds to explain the finer points of murdering people and disposing of the bodies. Along the way, we learn that Ben has some friends in classier places, and we even get to meet his immediate family, who would seem to have no idea what Ben is getting up to. After some pretty shocking murder scenes, including one where Ben induces a heart attack in his intended victim in order to save on bullets, we learn that the family of one of his victims from his days as a mercenary has put out a contract on him. I'll stop the plot description there, but suffice it to say that this is definitely not material you want to watch if you're faint of heart or stomach.

    All in all, I thoroughly recommend C'est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous to those who find reality-TV shows boring, or those who like their films to have no point that is easy to recognise. It is sick, violent, sad, and yet funny at the same time, with an atmosphere that makes it difficult to discern at times that it isn't a genuine documentary. In short, it is everything that The Blair Witch Project was trying to be, and then some.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    C'est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous was filmed using what appears to be 16 millimeter film stock. The result is source material that gives most MPEG encoders a fit of apoplexy, and I am surprised that the resultant transfer turned out as well as it did. This is faint praise, however, because it is still of poor quality, but most of the faults can be attributed to the source material.

    The transfer is presented in an approximate 1.44:1 aspect ratio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is mediocre, with only enough detail present to make out the important details, specifically who is doing what to whom and how they are doing it. In one respect, the sharpness of this transfer is better than the other medium I have seen this film on, as there is enough detail to barely make out when Ben wiggles his nose at 7:47. The shadow detail is poor, with anything that is not brightly lit by the film crew turning into a murky black. Low level noise was present in the opening credits, creating an appearance of trails to the right of the titles, but this settled down to a more acceptable level once the film got underway.

    Being that the original film was black and white, the colours in this transfer are reasonably represented, although the level of contrast does tend to vary a little from shot to shot. Again, this appears to be inherent in the source material. No composite artefacts were apparent during the feature.

    MPEG artefacts were not immediately apparent in the feature, although macro-blocking often appears to be on the verge of breaking out due to the problems with the source material. Film-to-video artefacts were not apparent in the feature, either, unless you count the endless amount of camera wobble. Film artefacts, on the other hand, were abundant, with all sorts of black and white marks making their way onto the picture. A vertical scratch appeared in the middle of the picture for about ten seconds at 52:59.

    Burned-in subtitles are present throughout the film to translate the French dialogue into English, which will certainly annoy those who can speak French.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack on this DVD: the original French dialogue, flagged to the player as English, rendered in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to follow at all times, largely because there is very little in the way of sound effects or Foley work to overwhelm it, and what little sound effects there are tend to be very brief. Occasionally, the sound would turn to silence when the sound man dropped his microphone, usually in the middle of a violent confrontation. This gave the film a certain sense of authenticity, but it was also mildly annoying. I detected no problems with audio sync.

    The music in this film is credited to Jean-Marc Chenut and Laurence Dufrene. Much of the music heard in this film is performed in front of the camera by the actors, giving it a certain personal quality that makes it more interesting.

    Being that this is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, and a fairly monaural-sounding one at that, the surround channels had nothing to do for the entirety of the feature. They were not especially missed, although the addition of a centre channel to keep the dialogue separate from the sound effects might have helped just a little.

    The subwoofer was not specifically encoded into this soundtrack, but there is a high level of low-end distortion apparent in the soundtrack, which some may want to redirect to their subwoofer in order to save their front speakers.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, easy to navigate, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

Featurette - Pas De C4 Pour Daniel Daniel

    Presented in an approximate 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, No C4 For Daniel Daniel, to quote its English title, is not 16x9 Enhanced. Some will find sitting through its twelve minute running length to be quite a difficult task, as it is quite loud and seemingly pointless.

Notes - Reviews

    This extra is presented as a featurette, which runs for three minutes and forty seconds. It basically consists of scrolling text describing how the film was made, and what sort of reception it received upon its release.

Cast Biography

    There is actually only the one biography here - that of actor/director Benoît Poelvoorde.

Photo Gallery

    A standard collection of unannotated stills.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc available, but there have been two distinct versions released in France: one by Polygram, and the other by Tartan Video. The Tartan video version would appear, at first, to be more censored than the version available here, with a running length of 92 minutes. This is actually because it is presented in PAL rather than the NTSC-to-PAL conversion we have in Region 4. It features a 1.66:1 letterboxed video transfer and a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio transfer. The Polygram version features a 1.78:1 16x9 Enhanced video transfer with a Dolby Digital 1.0 audio transfer.

    Reliable information about overseas versions of this disc is very hard to come by, and the decision as to which version represents the best value for money has to rest with the purchaser.

Addendum December 17, 2002: There now appears to be a Region 1 version of this title, released by the good folks at Criterion. Its specifications appear to be the same as the R2 uncensored version, and it is uncensored. The Criterion disc features a 16x9 Enhanced 1.66:1 transfer, 24 chapter stops, a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack, and the classic short film Pas De C4 Pour Daniel Daniel. This definitely makes the Region 1 Criterion DVD the version of choice.

Summary

    C'est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous is somewhat like a road accident: one is repulsed by it, but they cannot help but stop to watch it in a certain sick kind of fascination. Some will find it vulgar and tasteless, while others will doubtlessly wonder what the hell it was all about. I definitely recommend it to those who want to see what extremely basic filmmaking really looks like.

    The video transfer is reasonable when the quality of the production and source material is taken into account.

    The audio transfer is also reasonable, given what the people behind it had to work with.

    The extras are extremely basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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