Van Passel’s off-the-wall comedy Madonna’s Pig hits screens
by Aurore Engelen
Unconventional director Frank Van Passel returns to Belgian screens with a totally off-the-wall comedy, Madonna’s Pig. No, it isn’t about the fate of a global pop star’s pet animal, but rather a clockwork pig which cheers up a village plagued by ghosts that have lingered there since the Great War. In the end, the first of the two plot pitches is perhaps the least improbable.
We’re familiar with Van Passel’s work since the mid-1990s, when his debut film, Manneken Pis, was selected at the Cannes Film Festival. At that time, the director fell into the poetic-burlesque vein of Jaco van Dormael’s Toto the Hero. In the early 2000s, he made a surprise comeback with Villa des Roses, adapted from a historical novel. Then in 2008, he made the TV drama The Emperor of Taste, which was a media event as the saga succeeded in captivating both Dutch-speaking and Francophone audiences.
With Madonna’s Pig, the director returns to the burlesque vein. Tony, a sales representative in inseminating pigs gets lost in the spatio-temporal abyss that is the little village of Madonna. The film, which received backing from the VAF, CCA and Wallimage/Bruxellimage, is produced by Caviar, the company set up by Van Passel, and co-produced by Climax Films. It is being released by Kinepolis Film Distribution on a generous 32 screens in Flanders alone.
This week also sees the release of no fewer than five French films, and prominent ones at that. Besides Stéphane Rybojad’s Special Forces [+see also:
film profile] and Christian Clavier’s You Don’t Choose Your Family [+see also:
film profile], films hitting screens include Radu Mihaileanu’s The Source [+see also:
film profile] (selected in official competition at Cannes), and two productions starring Belgian actors who are audience favourites. Philippe Lioret’s All Our Desires [+see also:
film profile] marks the return of Marie Gillain in a harrowing role, while Anne Fontaine’s My Worst Nightmare [+see also:
film profile] centres on an unusual couple, Isabelle Huppert and Benoît Poelvoorde. Alternative is pinning all its hopes on the film, which is being released on over 30 screens, including seven in Flanders.
(Translated from French)
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