The title "Vidange Perdue" is a Belgian expression which is best translated as "empties are not refunded"Like stray bottles that end up in the trash, old people are often regarded as a cumbersome burden and best disposed of in a discreet and efficient fashion. "Senior citizenship" ( the word itself is basically a convenient euphemism for the grim reality of old age) is a topic our present society tends to avoid as it doesn't correspond with the actual and commercially induced unrealistic belief that life in general is a never ending joy ride. Those aspects of the human condition which have obvious negative connotations have become uncomfortable topics and not many producers or directors are tempted to deal with these issues for fear of disappointing box office results. All the more reason to acclaim the venture of Geoffrey Enthoven & Jaak Boon who contrary to the actual trends have produced a movie that focuses more on content than on aiming at a cheap form of appraisal. This movie is the story of an old man who can't accept that he's growing older and who revolts against the absurdity of life. To an outsider he's just another grumpy eighty-year-old who is often extremely cantankerous and obstinate and of little or no interest at all. What others fail ( or don't even bother) to see is that this man cannot accept the fact that there is a constant negation by others of his own unique personality and that the elderly in general are constantly patronized by their immediate surroundings as if they suffered from an ever increasing form of dementia. Lucien Knops' struggle against all these preconceived notions regarding old people is courageous but also comical at times as is illustrated by his letters of pure outrage to the newspaper and his attempts at amorous escapades.A real turning point in his life is his encounter with his neighbor. This lady not only prompts him to go on being his true self but opens doors for him to the future which he himself would never have thought of unbolting. When at the end of the movie he visits his favorite grand child in Paris, he knows the future will remain uncertain. He sees himself on a long voyage or maybe even spending his remaining days as a tramp. Whatever the future holds in store, he will confront it as he himself: the unique Lucien Knops. The movie was filmed in short alternating scenes and all the actors, without exception, deliver a high quality performance.
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