Marion Hänsel – Dust (1985)

 Marion Hänsel   Dust (1985)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Marion Hänsel   Dust (1985)

J. M. COETZEE’S ”In the Heart of the Country” (published here as ”From the Heart of the Country”) is written as a diary, in the fierce, scathing, half-mad voice of a woman living in near-isolation on a South African sheep farm. With its startling clarity and its paradoxically hallucinatory style, this brief 1977 novel would seem to be well out of any film maker’s reach.

But Marion Hansel, a Belgian director, has attempted to adapt it anyhow, and has done a job that is creditable if in some ways incomplete. The remote, barren setting for the story, on the veldt in Cape Province, has been hauntingly evoked (though the film was shot in Spain). And the characters, played by well-chosen, visually striking actors, are given life and stature.

Miss Hansel’s ”Dust,” which opens today at Film Forum 2, has a handsome look that manages, in the manner of the great American westerns, to be both classical and wild. If it lacks the surprise and complexity of Mr. Coetzee’s vision, and if its stillness sometimes borders on the becalmed, it nonetheless has a stark, streamlined manner and an underlying urgency. Continue reading

Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani – L’étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps AKA The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears (2013)

tjvb Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani   Létrange couleur des larmes de ton corps AKA The Strange Colour Of Your Bodys Tears (2013)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani   Létrange couleur des larmes de ton corps AKA The Strange Colour Of Your Bodys Tears (2013)

Some movies are watched. “The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears” is a movie you live inside. This new film from directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani touches you repeatedly, inappropriately, from the front and, delightfully, from the rear. To synopsize the film is folly, though it will be fun to see viewers try. This is the magic that Cattet and Forzani have weaved from their debut effort “Amer,” a hypnotic trip down the giallo rabbit hole. Very few filmmakers today are working with a radical new vocabulary, but Cattet and Forzani are using genre of the past to toss us, shouting, into the future. Continue reading

Yaël André – Quand je serai dictateur aka When I Will Be Dictator (2013)

b5k5 Yaël André   Quand je serai dictateur aka When I Will Be Dictator (2013)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Yaël André   Quand je serai dictateur aka When I Will Be Dictator (2013)

Once a common medium to record home movies and holiday souvenirs, the memory of Super-8 film is now disappearing fast. Yaël André has recycled a wealth of random Super-8 footage into a fake biography, with a cheeky off-screen voice.
There are only two protagonists in this film, and both remain invisible. There is the narrator, who addresses us in a confidential tone. And there is ‘George’, his imaginary friend. But there are many more personae: the imagined lives of a an adventurer, a psychopath, a perfect mother, an accountant and an invisible man…
Although the film appears divided into short thematic chapters, its real strength lies in the associative flow that guides us along a surrealist chain of thoughts, hypotheses and dreams. In the images, the decades from the 1940s to the present day appear all mixed up.
Yaël André’s storyline and editing technique make us see these anonymous and quite generic home movies with a fresh eye, as if they were the first of their kind. The combination of text and images results in a bizarre meditation on truth and fiction, life and death, grief and joy. Continue reading

Tom Tykwer – Lola rennt AKA Run Lola Run (1999)

cDWY28y Tom Tykwer – Lola rennt AKA Run Lola Run (1999)

thgc Tom Tykwer – Lola rennt AKA Run Lola Run (1999)

Pieces of the Action

A low-budget no-brainer, Run Lola Run is a lot more fun than Speed, a big-budget no-brainer from five years ago. It’s just as fast moving, the music is better, and though the characters are almost as hackneyed and predictable, the conceptual side has a lot more punch. If Run Lola Run had opened as widely as Speed and it too had been allowed to function as everyday mall fodder, its release could have been read as an indication that Americans were finally catching up with people in other countries when it comes to the pursuit of mindless pleasures. Instead it’s opening at the Music Box as an art movie.

Why try to sell an edgy youth thriller with nothing but kicks on its mind as an art movie? After all, it’s only a movie–a rationale that was trotted out for Speed more times than I care to remember. The dialogue of Run Lola Run is certainly simple and cursory, but it happens to be in subtitled German–which in business terms means that it has to be marketed as a film, not a movie. And of course nobody ever says “It’s only a film,” just as no one ever thinks of saying “It’s only a concert,” “It’s only a novel,” “It’s only a play,” or “It’s only a painting.” Because they’re omnipresent, movies almost oblige us to cut them down a peg or two just so we can breathe around them. Continue reading

Joost Wijnant – De laatste zomer AKA The Last Summer (2007)

 Joost Wijnant – De laatste zomer AKA The Last Summer (2007)

thgc Joost Wijnant – De laatste zomer AKA The Last Summer (2007)

The Last Summer (De laatste zomer) is director Joost Wynants’ movie debut. The film is set in 1996 and tells the story of four boys from a village in the West Flemish countryside. Although, at first glance, the four appear to be very different from each other, they are good friends. But then they meet the beautiful Sandrine… Continue reading

Rob Van Eyck – The Afterman (1985)

 Rob Van Eyck   The Afterman (1985)

thgc Rob Van Eyck   The Afterman (1985)

What I have the honor of reviewing here is something totally unique and probably ranks quite high on the worldwide list of obscure Sci-Fi/horror movies. “The Afterman” is a Belgian post-apocalyptic thriller, but even in its own country of release (which is really small) it only received a minimal distribution and finding a decent copy on VHS is about as rare as encountering a salsa-dancing elephant. Fortunately – or unfortunately if you wish – there are not many people on the lookout for this film and that’s mainly either because they don’t know it exists or because the reputation of writer/director Rob Van Eyck isn’t exactly favorable around here. His most famous film “Blue Belgium”, inspired by the infamous Mark Dutroux pedophilia scandal, is generally considered as one of the worst Belgian movies ever and doesn’t really stimulate viewers to check out the director’s other works. Too bad, actually, since “The Afterman” is a truly special and deeply intriguing cinematic experiment, accomplished with an absolute minimum of financial means yet with a massive amount of controversial themes and downright shocking ideas in the screenplay. Continue reading

pixel Rob Van Eyck   The Afterman (1985)