Like his counterpart Michael Haneke, Bruno Dumont’s oeuvre consists of one film made over and over again. And though its wartime setting seems apt for the L’Humanite director’s belief in man’s bestial nature, Flanders nonetheless proves his most trying regurgitation to date. Another tale of Neanderthal simpletons screwing, killing and staring off into the remote distance, Dumont’s latest is an abstract existentialist affair concerning a thick-skulled farmer (Samuel Boidin) and the village whore (Adélaïde Leroux) whom he pines for but loses to a similarly dim cipher (Henri Cretel). A love triangle is thus initiated but never fully allowed to develop, as both men are soon sent off to an undefined Middle East war where they cold-bloodedly murder some young enemies, gang-rape a woman, and then are either mowed down in the harsh desert sun or – as is the unfortunate fate of the one man who doesn’t partake in sexual assault – castrated and then executed by the defiled female. Dumont’s compositions of the open rural countryside and anonymous battlefields are striking but hardly suffice as adequate reflections of his characters’ brutish psychological states. Rather than expanding upon his thesis about mankind’s true colors, Flanders merely rehashes in ways predictable and pedantic, the latter quality epitomized by the director’s cross-cutting between wartime atrocities and the hometown slut wiping blood away from her crotch before getting it on in a barn (see, she’s an animal!) with another random, repulsive fellow. Dumont would have a final declaration of love register as a Bressonian entreaty for spiritual comfort, yet as with most of this stilted, affected term-paper treatise on the human condition, it’s just so much hollow posturing.