La Vie de Jésus

La vie de Jésus (English: The Life of Jesus) is the 1997 debut feature film by director Bruno Dumont. It was the winner of the prestigious BFI Sutherland Trophy, the Prix Jean Vigo and European Discovery of the Year at the European Film Awards, as well as the special mention for Camera d’Or at Cannes.[1]

La vie de Jésus
Directed byBruno Dumont
StarringDavid Douche
Release date
  • 1997 (1997)
Running time
96 minutes

Freddy, who is unemployed with learning difficulties and epilepsy, drives around on a motorbike and experiences his first sexual encounters in the rather depressing fields of the countryside of northern France. When the handsome immigrant Kader flirts with Freddy's girlfriend cashier Marie, Freddy plans to take revenge.


Dumont included extreme close-ups of penetration in The Life of Jesus to emphasize the animal nature of the sex act, which takes place outdoors in a field. In order to keep a natural feel and atmosphere, the director deliberately used non-professional actors. Freddy and the other boys' sexual assault on a girl, also made for uncomfortable viewing. Dumont seemed to portray general pack behaviour as predatory, territorial and base, particularly among the younger males - with the elders of the village acting as a communal control but only as a last resort. Dumont's main aim was to maintain a gritty sense of realism, about both the subject matter and questioning the social fabric in a modern context.[2]

Home video release

  • La vie de Jésus - Director-approved Masters of Cinema Series edition - Released in the UK 21 July 2008
  • La vie de Jésus - Director-approved special edition in Blu-Ray and DVD formats, released by the Criterion collection in 2019.[3]


  1. La vie de Jésus - IMDb, retrieved 2019-11-02
  2. Erickson, Steve (29 November 2000). "Mysteries of Love". Minneapolis City Pages. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  3. "La vie de Jésus". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
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