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Based on documents compiled by leading French philosopher Michel Foucault, I, Pierre Riviere, a unique and original film, charts the gruesome events which took place in a Normandy village in 1835, when a young man, Pierre Riviere, murdered his mother, sister and brother before fleeing to the countryside.
With a cast made up of real-life villagers from the area where the events took place, the detailed re-enactments and careful attention to the gestures of their ancestors serve to create an intense and sometimes disturbing atmosphere of hyper-realism. Details of the crime and of the trial that followed are told from varied perspectives, including the written confession of Pierre himself, and form a rich and complex narrative that interrogates the concepts of 'truth' and 'history'.
Radical, bold and uncompromising, director Rene Allio's extraordinary work is at one and the same time an ethnographic enquiry, an historical reconstruction, and an unflinching portrait of psychopathology and its aftermath.