It happened near you

Summary : A television crew follows in the footsteps of a bloodthirsty killer who murders on his behalf… in the bank! Small villainous murders, settling of family accounts, submerged bodies… everything goes.

Critical : Presented at Critics’ Week 1992, It happened close to you received a triumphant welcome there and won the SACD Prize as well as the Special Prize for Youth. It is based on the graduation film of Rémy Belvaux (brother of director and actor Lucas Belvaux) at the National Institute of Performing Arts (INSAS), in Brussels. He will then shoot a short film and advertising films, before killing himself in 2006. To claim a collective work, are also credited with the production André Bonzel, cameraman, as well as the actor Benoît Poelvoorde, hitherto unknown to the General public. Scenes initially deleted have been reinstated, and others added, and this to have the format of the feature film. To make up for the lack of budget, relatives were asked for the casting, like Poelvoorde’s parents and grandfather.

JPEG - 75.6 kb
1992 © Artists Anonymous. All rights reserved.

Shot like a mockumentary, with black and white giving a minimalist connotation, It happened close to you is a parody of the TV show Striptease. The screenplay relates the activities of Benoît Patard, known as “Ben”, a serial killer interviewed by a journalist and a cameraman, who will follow him on his disastrous journey to the point of being able to be considered real accomplices. The film plays heavily on black humor and derision, Ben’s apparent sympathy (at least at the start of the story) contrasting with the horror of his actions. It happened close to you also striking by its digressions and its offbeat tone, the killer expressing his impressions on the aesthetics of social housing or the exploitation of immigrant workers, before or after committing his murders… Going beyond his schoolboy character, the work is full of cult scenes , the most emblematic being undoubtedly the one where Ben gives the recipe for “little Grégory’s cocktail”…

JPEG - 67.3 kb
1992 © Artists Anonymous. All rights reserved.

Innovative in its time, through its reflection on violence and its unique style, making it appear as an “unidentified filmic object”, It happened close to youwill perhaps less impress the cinephile thirty years later: on the one hand the “documenter” is a sub-genre which has since been at the origin of many productions, from Blair Witch Project (Myrick, Sanchez, 1999) at guy (Lutz, 2018); and on the other hand, other films then deepened the theme of the representation of violence on the screen, such as Funny Games (Haneke, 1997). It happened close to you none the less striking. On its theatrical release, the film, banned for children under sixteen, was a hit in France, with more than five hundred thousand admissions, which ensured high profitability given its very low cost. We can think that it would be difficult to achieve today, given the passages that are even less politically correct than at the time (infanticide, rape, etc.). Still, the Atelier Distribution is offering a cover on November 9, 2022, in a restored version (prohibited for children under twelve). We can only rejoice.

It happened near you – Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde – review