Martine Doyen shooting her second feature, Witz
by Aurore Engelen
- The Belgian director has just kicked off the shoot for her new film, starring Sandrine Blancke, Sam Louwyck, and actor-directors Abel and Gordon
Having turned heads in 2006 with Komma [+see also:
film profile], a somewhat unusual feature selected in the Critics’ Week, which saw Flemish singer Arno play his first major film role, Martine Doyen is (finally) back with her second feature, Witz (working title: No Fun).
In it, we follow the epic journey of redemption undertaken by Stella (Sandrine Blancke), who loses her sense of humour after a brain injury. But that doesn’t stop her from being funny, and this is how she stops Frank (Sam Louwyck) from committing suicide – by unintentionally making him laugh. Now fully recovered, Frank needs Stella to enable him to laugh and vows never to leave her. But Stella has had it up to here with people’s laughter and avoids him completely. When her cat dies, she hits rock bottom and finally accepts his help. Together, they take off and head to the High Fens nature reserve to follow an intensive laughter yoga workshop... Sceptical but with high hopes of recovery, Stella gradually allows herself to go with the flow and immerse herself in this tale of budding humour between herself and Frank, a funny story that will eventually release her from the wounds of the past and allow her to learn to laugh and love again. With this small, intimate comedy, Doyen intends to tell the story “of a rebellious soul who, in order to get away and find herself, tears herself away from her solitude, lets go, faces up to change, cuts loose in a kind of life-affirming frenzy, and finally takes action instead of putting up with her life”.
Toplining the cast is Sandrine Blancke, a rarely seen actress who came to the attention of film buffs all over the world in Toto the Hero, besides also appearing in Soeur Sourire [+see also:
film profile] alongside Cécile de France and, more recently, in the short film Sparte. She is joined by Sam Louwyck, French-language cinema’s pet (or almost) Flemish actor (Keeper [+see also:
interview: Guillaume Senez
interview: Kacey Mottet Klein
film profile], Baden Baden [+see also:
film profile], The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears [+see also:
film profile], The World Belongs to Us [+see also:
interview: Stephan Streker
film profile]…). Also featuring among the cast is the unconventional pair of actor-directors Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon.
Witz is being produced by Hélicotronc, with backing from the CCA, in co-production with RTBF, Proximus and Shelter Prod. The project was also supported by MEDIA. The shoot kicked off yesterday and will continue throughout May.
(Translated from French)
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