By Owen Gleiberman
Updated April 07, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s not every filmmaker who has a sixth sense for deploying tedium as an artistic strategy. Twentynine Palms, the new film from Bruno Dumont (”Humanité”), rambles with an elegant aridity unseen since the angst-under-the-sun days of Antonioni. It traces the largely wordless relationship between a testy American photographer (David Wissak) and his princess flake of a Russian girlfriend (Katia Golubeva). This is one of those films in which the Act of Driving becomes a 10-minute statement of high emptiness; Dumont even manages to make sex in the desert boring. Have no fear, though: He’s just setting us up for the kill (literally). ”Twentynine Palms” turns into an extreme shocker about the beast within. You may not buy it, but you’ll be more than grateful that something finally happens.