Welcome Home, the art of fleeing by Philippe de Pierpont
by Aurore Engelen
- A variation on a teenage runaway attempt gone wrong, the film is dominated by the incandescent performance of its two inspired actors
Lucas (Martin Nissen) feels like a stranger in his own home. His recently remarried mother has just had a baby, and Lucas disapproves of this new addition, which has come and upset the precarious balance of the household. Already estranged from his mother, Lucas can’t even talk to her anymore, as the pressing needs of the baby keep her fully occupied. And it’s not like his relationships with people outside the home are any better. Lucas really likes one of his classmates, but when he tries to talk to her, she bursts out giggling in his face. Bert (Arthur Buyssens) watches over his pal Lucas, and doesn’t hesitate in rebuffing these overly confident teenage girls. He’s a bit older than Lucas, also feels stifled, and cannot stand patriarchal oppression either. Deep down, Lucas and Bert wonder if there’s a way of removing themselves from the saga of their everyday lives, of forgetting the rules and living out their youth outside of social conventions. They change their names, renaming themselves Bee and Lucky, shedding their family rags, and take to the road. But wondering around without any specific goal, they soon lose their way. The two boys sneak into empty houses, breaking in and taking advantage of lives that aren’t theirs, eating out of the kitchens of others, sleeping in their beds, drinking from their cellars. But boredom soon sets in, and tensions grow between the two friends. A first accident calls the solidarity between the two boys into question. When Lucas hesitates, Bert inadvertently breaks into a house with people in it.
Rebellious and escapist adolescence is a favourite topic of film, although that doesn’t seem to weaken the use of this well-worn theme here, and only makes Philippe de Pierpont’s success in Welcome Home [+see also:
film profile] – screened at the Festival International du Film Francophone (FIFF) in Namur – all the more remarkable. It is almost in spite of ourselves that we hang onto the coat tails of Lucas and Bert, notably thanks to the natural and intense performances of Nissen and Buyssens, which remain spot-on and exceptional singular. We follow them on their chaotic journey. Right from the off, it’s not a question of fearing the worst – there’s no sensationalism in De Pierpont’s approach –, but about the desire to portray the procrastination of Lucas and Bert, to allow the viewer to grasp the changes in their state of mind with or before them. More than just an illustration of an episode of teenage rebellion, Welcome Home is an ode to freedom and a reflection on the price of this freedom and the weight of responsibility.
Welcome Home was produced by Iota Production (which already produced Philippe de Pierpont’s debut feature film, She’s Not Crying, She’s Singing [+see also:
film profile]), and A Private View, in co-production with Mollywood & Proximus, with the financial backing of the Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles, Voo and the Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, with support from the Tax Shelter of the Federal Government of Belgium.
(Translated from French)
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