Bruno Reidal, confession of a killer

In the mind of a killer

An effort noise is heard. The face of Bruno Reidal, a young peasant from Kanthal, appears. The child’s head comes off the body, tightly grasped by Bruno; a child lying in a pool of blood… It would be wrong to rely on this crappy discovery to judge Bruno Reidal, because instead of visual shock, the film is rife with violence, primarily psychological. The first feature film by Vincent Le Port, which tells the journey of Bruno Reydal, who at the beginning of the twentieth century on a sunny day decided, after trying to master them, having passed a secondary seminary, to succumb to his murderous impulses and behead a small child passing by. The film’s whole slant lies in its super-subjectivity based on Reidal’s writings; as well as a flashback staging highlighting the transition between the present and the past as narrated by Reidal. Everything is punctuated by a voice-over played by Reidal himself, putting the viewer in the killer’s head. Aesthetic logic lies in the game with contrasting effects. The contrast between present and past space, whose role in the present is played exclusively indoors from a cold and gloomy room, while the environment of the past, usually outdoors, as if bathed in sunlight or warmth, is ubiquitous. Compare again with the use of language that is disturbing and uncomfortable due to the cold and clinical withdrawal from Reidal’s descriptions. The latter tried to describe his masturbatory killing impulses with naturalness and chilling blood and irritating monotony.

extraordinary creature

Even more than a murderous impulse, the strangeness of Bruno’s personality comes to the fore. The goal of the game is not intrigue, but a fascinating observation of a creature that seems isolated and strange from birth. Who seems never to have been able to adhere to any of the limits offered by society, including the religious limits. The viewer is alone in front of the riddle, which is the strength of the film: by avoiding explanations and leaving only suggestions for solutions or answers, we get a psychological sketch, a kind of rough and almost frank emotional exposure of the hero’s personality. a killer who allows you to keep the shape of a distorting mirror in front of the society of that time; relegating all norms that we might take for granted to a form of strangeness that is contrary to the deepest nature of beings. Moreover, this attitude towards madness is not without Camille Claudel 1915 Bruno Dumont. The entire weight of the film rests on the shoulders of Dimitri Dore, whose gaze and timbre of voice are constantly monotonous, correct, leaving no doubt that he is in a state of madness; reminds me of Jack Torrance shining. But the center of the anxiety that the viewer will feel will undoubtedly come from Reydal’s state of mind about the evil that gnaws at him. Because the latter knows from childhood that his desire to kill is abnormal and unhealthy, but can never prevent its occurrence or containment. Essentially, the film asks a simple question: Can a lunatic be held responsible for his actions, especially if he is aware of the malicious nature of those actions? A question that remains unanswered and that can only provoke a modern debate.

Caught in stiffness

Relationships between classes, dominations and religions are the themes of the film. Faced with fellow villagers more gifted than he, seminar students richer than him, or physicians more cultured than him, Bruno Reidal will always be at a disadvantage in the environment in which he develops. He will always be in a situation where others dominate him. But again, thanks to his amazing insight, the character will be only too aware of this dominance, increasing his frustration as well as his masturbatory and murderous desires. Perhaps this is one of the film’s explanations for Reidal’s impulses: the worst of all forms of violence is a brutal social order in the face of non-standard creatures and not fitting into any framework that society has to offer. which also causes Judge is a killer both in subject matter and in time. But where Tavernier used a certain neutrality of point of view, conducive to a healthy distance and to ensure that his film penetrates History with a capital letter, Vincent Le Port prefers a form of extreme subjectivity, making the film precisely impenetrable, even impenetrable to all mankind. or to all human escapes; to any form of salvation of hope. Which is perhaps the source of his weak point. Because, despite being dominated on all sides, we will never really feel sorry for or feel sorry for Bruno Reidal, as it may be paradoxically in the case of Bouvier in Judge and murderer which gave the film more breadth and complexity.

Nice first feature

Bruno Reidal it’s an elusive film that never lets itself be completely defined; ephemeral, like its protagonist. Madness is represented there not only by an impenetrable wall, but also by an inexhaustible source of mystery; simultaneously captivating and repulsive. This is an excellent first feature that, as is often the case with first films, suffers from a kind of extreme prejudice that disrupts the viewer’s perception too much. But let’s not spoil our fun when the end credits roll, we can’t wait to see everything else Vincent Le Port has to offer.

Leave a Comment