Cannes spotlight on Flemish films
by Aurore Engelen
24/04/2009 - The years follow on and seem to echo one other… In 2008, Belgian francophone films triumphantly descended on the Croisette, with a contingent of directors determined to win over press and audiences.
One year later, we’re still basking in the joy of the success garnered by Eldorado [trailer], Rumba [trailer, film focus], Private Lessons [trailer, film focus], and Lorna’s Silence [trailer, film focus]. There was also a Flemish title in the line-up: Christophe Van Rompaey’s Moscow, Belgium [trailer].
In 2009, Belgium is back, but this time, Flemish works are in the spotlight. Represented by three films, Flanders literally smashes its previous Cannes records.
Critics’ Week will screen two Belgian-produced faraway cinematic adventures. Altiplano by Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens (whose previous film, Khadak [trailer, film focus], won an award at Venice), will transport viewers to the Peruvian high plains, as war photographer Grace goes on a journey of redemption. The film is produced by the directors’ company Bo Films.
In the same section, Caroline Strubbe’s debut feature Lost Persons Area traces the encounter between two lonely souls lost in an arid plain. Thomas Leyers produced the film for Minds Meet.
In the Directors’ Fortnight, Felix Van Groeningen will present The Alasness of Things, whose French title – La Merditude des Choses (“The Shittiness of Things”) – has a Houellebecquian feel. Produced by loyal collaborator Dirk Impens, for Menuet, this is Van Groeningen’s third feature, after Steve+ Sky and With Friends Like These [trailer].
On the francophone side, there will be a special midnight screening of Stéphane Abier and Vincent Patar’s hysterical and hilarious animated comedy A Town Called Panic (produced by Belgium’s La Parti, Les Films du Grognon and Beast Production).
As linguistic differences are no obstacle for Belgian productions, most of these films are national co-productions. Altiplano was co-produced by French-speaking company Entre Chien et Loup and Lost Persons Area by francophone Artemis. Both films were backed by the Film and Audiovisual Centre of the French Community of Belgium and the Vlaams Audiovisual Fund, as was A Town Called Panic.
(Translated from French)