Jaco Van Dormael – Toto le héros aka Toto The Hero (1991)

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Synopsis:
Thomas and Alfred were born around the same time; a fire in the nursery had nurses scrambling to save the newborns. Because he felt that he deserved Alfred’s good fortune at being born into a wealthy family, Thomas conceives the idea that he and Alfred were switched at birth, and he can’t help seeing that his unhappiness should be Alfred’s, from the loss of his sister to his inability to have a relationship with the woman Evelyne. So, as his life is ending, he formulates a plan of revenge against his bitter enemy, his lifetime adversary, the man who stole his existence. Continue reading

Antoine Cuypers – Préjudice (2015)

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Quote:
During a family meal, Cedric, 32, learns that his sister is expecting a baby. While the news is met with sincere excitement by the whole family, for Cedric — who still lives with his parents – it resonates strangely, mixed with a certain resentment. Cedric, whose simple dream – a trip to Austria – is subject to discussion, will turn his resentment into anger and then fury. During the family celebration, he will try to establish, in front of everyone, the prejudice that he says he is the victim of. Between denial and paranoia, revolt and false pretences, how far is a family willing to go to keep its equilibrium? When must it start to suppress the right to be different? Continue reading

Lucile Hadzihalilovic – Innocence (2004)

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Quote:
Is this a horror movie or a grim fairy tale? Dedicated to her colleague, confrontationalist director Gaspar Noé, and sourced from a work by dark expressionist Frank Wedekind, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s stunning debut describes the purgatorial existence of schoolgirls in a sequestered rural college. In their crisp white gym shifts andpigtail ribbons colour-coded by age, these prepubescent model pupils are self-policing, save for a lone crippled mistress and a ballet teacher and the hovering threat of their ‘graduation’ ceremony in the mysterious house through the dark wood from whence none ever return. Meticulously shot by Benoît Debie with the chromatic richness of the pre-Raphaelite painters – you can almost smell the moss and decay – and miraculously acted by its predominately young cast, Hadzihalilovic’s film may make for a finally problematic feminist fable, but its unique vision conjures memories of the terrible beauty of Franju’s surreal work and Laughton’s supreme symbolist invocation of childhood, ‘The Night of the Hunter’. Continue reading

Lucian Pintilie – Reconstituirea aka Reconstruction (1968)

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Synopsis:
After two friends drunkenly injure a waiter, the police force them to recreate their crime for an “educational” film—with disastrous results. Immediately banned
in communist Romania, Reenactment is one of the key films of the Romanian
cinema (voted best Romanian film of all time by 40 Romanian film critics)
and stands among the exemplary works of its region and time. Continue reading

Marianne Lambert – I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (2015)

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Synopsis:
I DON’T BELONG ANYWHERE: THE CINEMA OF CHANTAL AKERMAN explores some of the Belgian filmmaker’s 40 plus films, and from Brussels to Tel Aviv, from Paris to New York, it charts the sites of her peregrinations. An experimental filmmaker, a nomad, Chantal Akerman shared with Marianne Lambert her cinematic trajectory, one that never ceased to interrogate the meaning of her existence. And with her editor and long-time collaborator, Claire Atherton, she examines the origins of her film language, and aesthetic stance. Continue reading

Nicolas Provost – L’envahisseur AKA The Invader (2011)

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Quote:
Belgium short filmmaker and visual artist Nicolas Provost brings his compelling and assured 2011 debut The Invader (L’envahisseur) to the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Acting as a refreshingly unbiased examination of illegal immigration and asylum seekers, Provost’s film is a surreal and demanding drama build around a sublime central performance by Issaka Sawadogo. Continue reading