All aboard for The Boat Race
by Aurore Engelen
Bernard Bellefroid’s debut feature The Boat Race powerfully explores an explosive adolescence tinged with violence, hope and self-surpassing. Backed by a highly convincing cast (including young actor Joffrey Verbruggen, seen in Unspoken [trailer], impressive thesp Thierry Hancisse, and Sergi Lopez), Bellefroid passes the first feature test with flying colours, as shown by the enthusiasm the film sparked at festivals where it screened, picking up Audience Awards at Namur and Angers.
This week, Belgian cinemagoers will also have the chance to discover two festival favourites from Eastern Europe. Unveiled in the latest Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Eastern Plays [trailer, film focus] traces the trials and tribulations of two brothers of opposing views, in a Sofia overrun with Neo-Nazis.
Eastern Plays is the debut film by young Bulgarian director Kamen Kalev, a graduate of Femis Film School. The film, which was one of the three finalists for the European Parliament’s LUX Prize, is being released by CNC.
Meanwhile, Katalin Varga [trailer, film focus], recent winner of the Discovery Award at the European Film Awards, is being launched on one screen by BFD. Unveiled at the Berlinale 2009, UK director Peter Strickland’s Katalin Varga is an unusual Hungarian-language film shot in Romania.
Also hitting screens are Danish director Lone Scherfig’s UK film An Education [trailer], which has been nominated for three Oscars; and two diametrically opposed French films: From Paris with Love [trailer] by Pierre Morel (who is part of the Besson team and became French king of the US box office with Taken), and Hadewijch [trailer], the fifth work by Bruno Dumont, who consistently delivers dry but deeply moving films .
(Translated from French)