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The Wall (1998)
"Le mur" (original title)

 |  Comedy  |  26 May 1999 (Belgium)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 143 users  
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This is a surrealistic film about a local small town 'hot chips' owner who finds his store cut in half by a newly erected wall in Belgium that is meant to separate the Flemish speakers from... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Hanssens ...
Pascale Bal ...
Mil Seghers ...
Peter Michel ...
Damien Gillard ...
Peter Rouffaer ...
Harry Cleven ...
Dett Peyskens ...
Laurence Bibot ...
Daniël Van Avermaet ...
Emile Ringoot ...
Bruno Van de Voorde ...
Mari flamand
François Lahaye ...
Mari francophone
Julian Cope ...


This is a surrealistic film about a local small town 'hot chips' owner who finds his store cut in half by a newly erected wall in Belgium that is meant to separate the Flemish speakers from the Walloons (French Speakers) . Unfortunately for Albert, he finds himself on the wrong side of the wall after a long night of new millennium partying and the beginning of a love affair with a gorgeous Flemish girl. Written by Javert-5

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26 May 1999 (Belgium)  »

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The Wall  »

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Bickering between the Flemish and the Walloons
25 September 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

THE WALL (Alain Berliner - Belgium/France 1998).

A curious little film, made by the Belgian director Alain Berliner, not to be confused with the same-titled 2004 documentary dealing with the recently erected Israeli security wall, whose makers could have come up with a somewhat more inventive title than "Le Mur", again..

This film deals with a different kind of wall, a fictional wall erected to divide the Flemish and the French-speaking Walloons. Belgium is linguistically divided between the Dutch-speaking Flemish and the French-speaking Walloons. French-speaking Albert runs a fish & chips trailer on the very border of the two territories. On the last day of the millennium he meets the Flemish girl Wendy at a party and falls in love with her. When he wakes the nest day, he finds out that the government has erected a wall between the two territories and that he is trapped on the Flemish side without a visa. The Flemish side has become a totalitarian state where his former (Flemish) friends are now encouraged to turn him in.

Essentially, the two parts of Belgium have gone their separate ways already since it has become a federal state in 1980. Although the conflict between the two sides usually doesn't get any further than bickering at each other, sometimes it does result in preposterous situations. For instance, the bilingual capital district of Brussels, which is completely encircled by Flemish territory, eagerly wants to extend some metro lines into the surrounding suburbs, but since these are officially Flemish, the Flemish government heftily opposes these plans because they are afraid these towns will become dominated by French-speaking citizens. Irony is, that in many of these towns the Flemish only form about 20 percent of the population, the remaining part is French-speaking, either Walloon or immigrants of various European backgrounds, which means - almost without exception - the majority by far is French-speaking or speaks French as their second language of choice, so everybody is thwarting each other, but in the end it's all rearguard action, especially from a Flemish perspective.

But so far this little historical diversion. When I first saw it, I didn't know it was made as an entry for "2000 Seen By...", a series of films funded by Le Sept Arte and Haut et Court, wherein various directors worldwide were invited to make a feature to commemorate the turn of the millennium. When I recently saw it again, I never picked up any reference to the turn of the millennium, but probably for the better. I don't like these hefty, and in the case of the millennium, ultimately pointless themes. It usually results in overly pretentious and heavy-handed film-making. I liked it best as a cute and fresh take on the cross-cultural love tragedy it is.

Sounds heavy-handed? It's not, but with the strives between the Flemish and the Walloons in the background probably most appreciated by anyone who knows about the conflict.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10

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