So Help Me God enjoys immense success in Belgium
by Aurore Engelen
- Distributed in Belgian theatres on Wednesday 22 February, Yves Hinant and Jean Libon’s film drew in more than 10,000 viewers after just five days on release
After scarcely five days on general release, So Help Me God [+see also:
interview: Jean Libon and Yves Hinant
film profile], Jean Libon and Yves Hinant’s film version of their programme Strip Tease, drew in more than 10,000 Belgian viewers – a tall order for a film that is virtually impossible to categorise, especially in the market for Belgian (particularly French-language) films, which often struggle in their home country.
It would be an understatement to say that Belgian audiences seemed to be seriously missing Strip Tease. For that matter, So Help Me God, distributed by Cinéart in an impressive 15 or so cinemas, topped the box-office chart in seven of them in its first week. Furthermore, Cinéart added three cinemas to the circuit in the second week on release, a fairly unusual occurrence.
The press has been in raptures over the film, and the feedback on the whole has consisted of rave reviews. With terms such as "must-see", "incredible", "larger than life", "masterful" and "staggering", the newspapers are certainly not lacking in adjectives to describe this (indeed) staggering, incredible immersion in the daily life of an examining magistrate from Brussels, as she is faced with countless destinies hanging by a thread and must deal with the countless defendants who make up the unsettling face of Belgian society.
The film is performing just as well in France, where it was released by ARP Sélection two weeks earlier, and where it is nearing the 100,000-admissions mark.
"We are taking a gamble on the audience’s intelligence. We show simple things and a world that seems to be less and less widely known these days," explains Yves Hinant. The gamble has clearly paid off, as the audiences have been turning up in their droves – and judging by their enthusiastic reactions after the screenings, word of mouth should help to guarantee So Help Me God an impressive theatrical run in the long term.
(Translated from French)
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