4 items from 2016
Yet again, Belgium has passed over the latest film from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, “The Unknown Girl,” which played in competition at Cannes and will screen at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. Instead, Belgium is submitting rookie director Robin Pront’s “The Ardennes,” a robbery-gone-wrong thriller that debuted at last year’s Tiff in the Discovery program and has been nominated for 10 Ensor Awards (September 16). It also made the shortlist for the European Film Awards.
The last Dardenne brothers film to be submitted by Belgium, “Two Days, One Night,” was not nominated (although Marion Cotillard did earn a Best Actress nomination); nor were submissions “Rosetta,” “The Son,” or “The Child.” (Many believe that if Belgium had selected the Dardennes’ more accessible Golden-Globe-nominated “Kid with a Bike,” it would have landed a final-five slot.)
In “The Ardennes,” a brutal robbery goes wrong. One of two thieves escapes, leaving his brother behind. »
- Anne Thompson
Belgium will be submitting “The Ardennes” as its official selection for the best foreign-language film Academy Award.
The film, by Robin Pront, stars Veerle Baetens (“The Broken Circle Breakdown”), Jeroen Perceval (“Bullhead”) and Kevin Janssens. “The Ardennes” is produced by Savage Film’s Bart Van Langendonck, who produced Michaël R. Roskam’s 2012 Academy Award-nominated “Bullhead.” Roskam is also an associate producer on the film.
“The Ardennes” tells the story of a robbery gone wrong, where one brother evades imprisonment and the other gets arrested, and the aftermath of his release four years later. The film debuted at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and is on the shortlist for European Film Awards. “The Ardennes” has also received ten Ensor Award nominations, the Belgium equivalent of the Academy Awards, which will be presented on Sept. 16.
- Maria Cavassuto
Berlin — New York-based Film Movement has acquired all U.S. rights to Toronto Discovery player “The Ardennes,” Robin Pront’s first feature film. Pic stars Veerle Baetens ( “The Broken Circle Breakdown”) and Jeroen Perceval (“Bullhead”).
Produced by Savage Film’s Bart Van Langendonck, whose credits include Michael Roskam’s “Bullhead,” and a new entry in a burgeoning line of gritty Flemish family crime sagas, “The Ardennes” narrates a tale of betrayal between two working class criminal brothers, which erupts in unexpected violence.
Arthouse genre, one of the dominant trends in international’s newest cinema, “Ardennes” was written by Perceval and Pront, adapting Perceval’s screenplay.
“’The Ardennes’ is raw and powerful,” said Film Movement’s prexy Michael E. Rosenberg, who closed the U.S. pick-up with Xiaojuan Zhou, president of Attraction Distribution. “We look forward to introducing fans of ‘Bullhead’ and ‘Borgman’ to a strong new voice in Belgian cinema. »
- John Hopewell
An estranged father and son are forced to interact at a Burning Man-like counterculture festival in music-video director Raf Reyntjens’ astute feature debut, “Paradise Trips.” Initially hobbled from full engagement by two leading characters who are all too convincingly unpleasant to be around, the pic earns their (and the viewers’) rapprochement by burying its fundamental generation-gapped, dysfunctional-family formulaics in low-key observation, plus a welcome late dose of druggy absurdism. Already released in home territories, it could pick up modest offshore sales in various formats while marking Reyntjens as a talent to watch.
Dutch tour-bus company owner/driver Mario (Gene Bervoets) is miserable in retirement, cranky and uncommunicative with wife Linda (Tania Van der Sanden) despite her valiant attempts to engage him. Rather than accept her proposal that they take a vacation together, he leaps at his former business partner’s emergency request that he take over a group rental trip to Croatia. »
- Dennis Harvey
4 items from 2016
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