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In a dreary small town in the north of France, the local teenagers go around in circles. Twenty-year-old Freddy (David Douche) might be called a skinhead, but that suggests some passion or political direction, and Freddy has none. A mean-faced, rudely simple young man, Freddy is aimless and indifferent, and his relationship with his girlfriend Marie (Marjorie Cottreel) seems to be entirely about mechanical sex. Things turn violent when an Arab boy flirts with Marie, and Freddy explodes in vengeance. "Life of Jesus" director Bruno Dumont means to disturb, and he succeeds almost too well; the misery of this world, rendered in detached glimpses, is relentlessly bleak. Clearly influenced by the great French director Robert Bresson, Dumont does have a purpose, and the enigmatic title hints at it: if we can find a divine spark in the brutish Freddy, then charity can exist anywhere. Among the startling elements in this film are a few moments of unfaked sexual explicitness, reportedly achieved by use of body doubles. But for sheer shock value, sexual frankness pales next to the vacant, voided lives laid bare in this grim picture; that's the real obscenity. "--Robert Horton"
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