Bruno Dumont is a filmmaker whose use of celluloid is a direct result of his intense desire to understand and make sense of the world around him. His downbeat dramas may not appeal to those who see only the negative in a cinematic world of stark reality, but viewers with the ability to see a glimmer of light in the darkness will surely connect with his sometimes bleak cinematic endeavors. A former philosophy professor who has turned his mind toward crafting confrontational films in which no aspect of modern society is out of bounds, Dumont has claimed that his films are the result of a noted effort to bring film back to the body in hopes of stirring the viewer's emotions. His 1997 debut, The Life of Jesus, was not a literal retelling of the events of the life of the biblical Jesus, but a socially critical look at life in Northern France. Acclaimed worldwide for its affecting portrayal of bored street youth, the film opened many doors for the director, and it wasn't long before he was crafting his sophomore effort, Humanity (1999). Influenced by such filmmakers as Bergman, Pasolini, and Fellini, Dumont's ability to make the most mundane aspects of daily life into fascinating film subjects is largely the result of his early film career, in which his work on industrial films forced him to take interest in subjects he cared little about. In a similar manner, the molasses-like pace of Humanity forced viewers to witness the harrowing investigation of the rape and murder of a young girl by a detached police officer in an manner that effectively emphasized the mundane mechanics of the officer's day-to-day routine. Once again the recipient of numerous festival awards, Dumont earned the the Grand Jury Prize at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival for Humanity. Though it was increasingly obvious that his vision as a director was certainly not for all viewers, those who were affected by his films remained steadfast in their praise. For his third film, Dumont would separate his detractors from his supporters more than ever. A horrific isolationist meditation on violence that jarringly shatters its quiet first acts with a near unwatchable finale, Twentynine Palms follows an American photographer and an unemployed French woman as they frantically make love in the desert before their tentative paradise is effectively destroyed with a startling revelation. Whether you agree with Dumont's theories on the human capacity for violence or not, odds are that you will be affected by his vision.