AU NOM DE LA TERRE (2019)

A film by  Edouard Bergeon

Cast:  Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon 

English: In the name of the earth.

Pierre is 25 when he returns from Wyoming to find Claire his fiancée and take over the family farm. Twenty years later, the farm expanded, so did the family. It’s the time of happy days, at least at the beginning … The farm has debts and Pierre is trying to stay above water by been over worked. Despite the love of his wife and children, he gradually falls into a deep depression … Built as a family saga, and according to the director’s own story, the film takes a human look at the evolution of the agricultural world of the last 40 years years.

Edouard Bergeon takes a personal angle here since he tells the true story of his father, crushed by the system and died in 1999. It begins with a sweet story, filmed with a retro light in an introductory scene where Pierre, on a motorcycle, drives through the fields to join his fiancée before making love to her passionately. The excitement of this beautiful story will quickly be disrupted by the economic concern, the debt that is going to follow which pushes this farmer played by Guillaume Canet to give everything that he has to his farm to the point of no return.

At the beginning everything is fine and the family was happy, the father of Pierre sold the farm to his son who is going to take over then an event is going to take place when Pierre is going to go crazy. Here the director is telling the story of his father who could not get out of debt which led to his emotional break down. Farmers in France are not making too much money to live on. Most of them borrows money from the bank and get help from the government and hope for the best. However the wife played by Veerle Baetens who is the most courageous tries to keep the family together. You see here Pierre wanted to be an entrepreneur instant of being the farmers he thought by expanding he was going to get out from under but unfortunately all hell broke loose. Outstanding job from the actors. Unfortunately there is a growing concern about farmers and their land. A surprising survey at the end of the film that surprised me.

DUELLES (2019)

A film by  Olivier Masset-Depasse

Cast:  Veerle Baetens, Anne Coesens, Mehdi Nebbou 

English title: mother’s instinct

In the 60s, Alice and Céline are the best friends in the world just like their sons Maxime and Théo. Their complicity is flawless until one day an event disrupts their lives. To friendship succeeds guilt, to paranoia and complicity, to suspicion.

Duelles is a very dark psychological thriller and one does come out of the movie theater unsettled. It is a story about two families who lives next door to each other and are best friend. But when an unfortunate events takes places things are going to go dark very dark. People will be people and may the duel begins. A cleverly developed scenario explores the possible motives of this psychological jousting (madness, Vengeance, horrible pain.) While taking care to never privilege one in particular with a music that keep the tension mounting. The two women are going to go onto battle and testing their limits. Even one is going to turn the husband against the other. A tour de force and manipulation is going to take place and it is going unsettling. The darkness of the events that follow one another ricochets against the bright decor of the 60’s. The two actress are on the top of the game with this draining emotional role. Duelles remain in its classic form with a well written script.

THE ARDENNES (2016)

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A film by Robin  Pront 

Cast: Veerle Baetens, Jan Bijvoet, Eric Godon

This feature directorial debut by Belgian Robin Pront starts off with a crime scene. Dave (Jeroen Perceval) leaves his brother Kenny (Kevin Janssens) at the scene and drives off with Sylvie (Veerle Baetens), Kenny’s girlfriend. Four years later Kenny gets out of prison. Dave promise  to his mother (Viviane de Muynck) that he will keep his brother out of trouble.

To all fans of film Neo-Noir put this one on your list, do not miss it, seriously.  Having said that our premier week in France is  Wednesday so I rush this morning to the movie theater to see this film. It was in the morning there was only me and an other guy there. When the film was over we look at each other and said almost at the same time “dam! that was so good”. And yes it is , but I can not reveal nothing about it and that is going to be a tough one. Here it is first I can say that the film focuses on Kenny adjustment to the every day life trying to go straight and his bother to help him out. Soon tension will start to rise in this grippy Belgium film. It’s an unexpectedly exhilarating climax that will grab you by the balls and hit you in the gut. Pront film it as dark as it can go with the weather on his side rainy, cold, as grey as it can get.The film’s retro synth soundtrack adds to the nostalgia of times gone by for the story and tension meter will raise then and come down to its conclusion. The Ardennes is a forest in Belgium as far as the eye can see just in case you are wondering. The actors delivers their roles beautifully well here. You see Korean cinema has reinvented themselves with  creative story telling and great if no outstanding stunts but now Belgium, it looks like are doing the same thing they are going to be the one to watch.

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les ardennes

 

DES NOUVELLES DE LA PLANÈTE MARS (2016)

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A film by  Dominik Moll

Cast: François Damiens, Vincent Macaigne, Veerle Baetens

English title: News from the planet mars

For director Dominik Moll and his lead star, Francois Damiens, News From Planet Mars marks a glorious return to the world off beat comedy.

Philippe Mars, divorced computer engineer, trying somehow to lead a quiet life, between a schoolboy son suddenly become vegetarian, a high school girl obsessed with success, a painter sister who paints real bad painting and an ex-wife who is a reporter on  TV … the accidental burst of Jerome, a slightly disturbed colleague succeeds in transforming her life into chaos. But in a world that has gone mad, is madness really so bad counselor?

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Damiens plays Philippe Mars who lives a boring life work, eat, sleep, until he spends some time with his colleague, Jerome (Vincent Macaigne) who has a nervous breakdown at work, accidentally sliced off Philippe’s left ear, and then  escapes from a mental institution. Jerome finds himself knocking on Philippe’s door Jerome invites Chloe (Veerle Baetens) round for dinner well all hell breaks loose. Philippe has his two teenager kids with him which his daughter thinks he is a loser, When Jerome enters his life, Phillips realizes that is life is going to change for the better or worse. Dominik Moll here does what he does best an off beat comedy and has shown a talent for blending naturalism and overstated frivolity. To a certain extend it feels sometimes like a Seinfeld episode. And trust me when  I say that do not miss this one.

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UN DEBUT PROMETTEUR (2015)

UN DEBUT PROMETTEUR (2015)

A film by Emma Luchini 

Cast: Veerle Baetens, Jean-Michel Balthazar, Zacharie Chasseriaud

English: A promising start. 

Un Début Prometteur by Emma Luchini, based on the novel by her partner author Nicolas Rey and with father Fabrice in one of the lead roles, is a dramatic comedy. I like it but it is missing something. Casting comic actor and stand-up comedian Manu Payet plays very well this alcoholic who is into drugs on occasion and chronically disillusioned. Fabrice plays the father and let me tell you he is great in any role and never disappoint.

Martin (Payet) returns to the family home and takes up residence in a mobile home parked in his father’s garden. His younger brother Gabriel (Zacharie Chasseriaud) is happy to see his brother soon after that he meets Maltide an older woman whom he has fallen in love with and need from his brother 1,500€ to lend to her. You see Maltide is a gambler who is seriously in debt. After Martin meet Maltide he began having a zest for life and follows or of his brother and Maltide to this interesting adventure.

Here is a love stuck teenager who embarks into this adventure with an older woman. Martin who now find a lust for life after seeing Maltide who play the alcoholic so well that it is fitting him like a glove. There is a lot going on with Maltide she is tough but has a tough exterior but has a sensitive side with an artistic side she can sing her little heart out. There like I said I like this film but is missing something. Not too bad for Emma Luchini here can’t wait for her next one.

UN DEBUT PROMETTEUR (2015)

UN DEBUT PROMETTEUR (2015)

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN (2012)

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A film by Felix van Groeningen.

Cast: Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse .

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight. She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a bluegrass band. They bond over their love for music and American culture and their love blossom on and off stage. She gets pregnant neither one of them expected it and didn’t know how to handle it. A tragedy form itself and their love, belief , religion, even political views gets tested. The Broken Circle Breakdown is a romantic melodrama at his best.

This is a rich Raw heartbreak of a film about death,love , sex, sorrow , faith and music. It is a beautiful soul-stirring drama. The movie in Flemish (with English subtitles) is adapted from a play co-written by Johan Heldenbergh who also stars here as Didier. Who plays a soft spoken blue grass musician who loves America the land of the fresh start as he called it. Didier falls passionately in love with a beautiful tattoo artist played by Elise-Veerle Baetens (“Best Actress” for this performance at the Tribeca Film Festival) she has cover her body with tattoos symbol of her life and her history of her broken romance. Soon they marry. They have a kid a girl Maybelle together they seem to had it all But suddenly Maybelle gets an illness, it is fatal. Five year-old Nell Cattrysse plays Maybelle and does a wonderful job at it She is the light of her parents. Not too give too much away just in case you didn’t see the film but all hell break loose and their love for each other get tested. The blue grass score is fantastic I don’t care for blue grass music but this score is perfect. The story is told in a series of flashback. The film has ups and down you will laugh you will cry. It a few word it is a beautiful emotion fest at his best.

THE BROKEN CIRCLE

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