Roland Lethem – Le sexe enragé aka The Red Cunt (1970)

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This film was made in the 70’s, with Jean-Pierre Bouyxou. The superimpositions at the end are in some ways influenced by Etienne O’Leary’ stuff : Lethem didn’t saw the films, but Bouyxou was talking to him so much about these movies that if influenced him surely…

This is part of the “belgian underground” with Patrick Hella, Noel Godin, etc… Continue reading

Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah – Black (2015)

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A 15-year-old girl in a black gang in Brussels must choose between loyalty and love when she falls for a Moroccan boy from a rival gang. The city of Brussels, plagued by high rates of youth unemployment, is home to nearly forty street gangs, and the number of young people drawn into the city’s gang culture increases each year. It’s in this criminal milieu that directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah set Black, a pulse-pounding contemporary take on a Shakespearean tragedy. Worlds collide when Mavela (Martha Canga Antonio), a teenage girl with ties to Brussels’ Black Bronx gang, meets Marwan (Aboubakr Bensaihi), a member of a rival Moroccan gang, at a police station. Keenly aware of the consequences of getting involved with someone from another gang, they at first resist their attraction to one another, but they can only resist for so long. Continue reading

Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne – La fille inconnue AKA The Unknown Girl (2016)

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In Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s very best films, you know exactly what you’re getting — until the quiet dramatic pivot that gently ensures you don’t. In “The Unknown Girl,” only the first half of that assessment is true, though what we get is largely exemplary: a simple but urgent objective threaded with needling observations of social imbalance, a camera that gazes with steady intent into story-bearing faces, and an especially riveting example of one in their gifted, toughly tranquil leading lady Adèle Haenel. What’s missing, however, from this stoically humane procedural tale of a guilt-racked GP investigating a nameless passer-by’s passing, is any great sense of narrative or emotional surprise: It’s a film that skilfully makes us feel precisely what we expect to feel from moment to moment, up to and including the long-forestalled waterworks. Though it will receive the broad distribution practically guaranteed the Belgian brothers’ work these days, the film is unlikely to prove one of their sensations — more the healthy arthouse equivalent of a biennial checkup. Continue reading

Peter Brosens & Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh – State of Dogs (1998)

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A cinematic poem based on the Mongolian belief that when dogs die, they are reborn as humans. At least, that’s what humans say. What do dogs think? The film introduces us to Baasar, a stray dog, before and after his death… Documentary or fiction? The pictures and sound are derived from reality, so surely it must be a documentary, but a particularly philosophical and poetic one. Not only does this film offer a lively, inspired commentary on the issue of stray animals in the urban environment, it invites us to contemplate the mystery of life and the complexity of reality. A universal parable on destiny, illustrated by Mongolian folklore. Continue reading

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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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