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Hand of the Headless Man (2007)
"Où est la main de l'homme sans tête" (original title)

5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 100 users  
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After spending fifteen days in a coma, Eva, an Olympic diving champion, must face the excessive determination of her father, who wants her to resume her training immediately. But something has changed since her accident.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Eva Sanders
...
Peter
...
Mathias
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jan Hammenecker ...
Père Alex Ruyten
Géraldine Jacques ...
La femme de l'expo
Jacky Lambert ...
L'homme sans tête
Joseph Mazy ...
L'homme sans main
Edouard Piessevaux ...
Paul
Harry van Rijthoven ...
Docteur Seghers
Tamar van den Dop ...
Anna
Eugène Vandevyver ...
Le sacristain
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Storyline

After spending fifteen days in a coma, Eva, an Olympic diving champion, must face the excessive determination of her father, who wants her to resume her training immediately. But something has changed since her accident.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Thriller

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Release Date:

17 June 2009 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Hand of the Headless Man  »

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User Reviews

 
The diver
27 November 2011 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Certain kinds of love kill, especially that of a controlling father, which is at the theme at the center of this Belgian entry by two filmmaker brothers, Guillaume and Stephane Malandrin who, contrary of what we had thought, are French, but we mistook them for Belgians, like the Dardennes brothers that have put Belgium on the map.

Eva, a successful diver, is seen in a competition in Amsterdam. We watch her make a perfect dive, receiving high scores, and clearly ahead of her opponents. Her father, and coach, Peter, is a man that pushes Eva to try to stay ahead of the competition. Having injured her hands in her efforts, she decides to go ahead to do a dangerous dive. As she looks into the water, a hand appears in a sort of shadow, terrifying, as well as unnerving her for a moment. While jumping Eva hits her head against the platform.

Landing in the hospital she is given an MRI test which confirms the injury to her brain, but in spite of having been in a deep coma, she is declared fit to leave. The doctor warns her to try to relax and stay away from competing. Peter, on the other hand, has another plan in mind. He is going to take Eva through simple swimming routines to get her in shape. After all, the Olympics are coming and Eva has a good chance.

Eva, who lives alone in Brussels, goes to stay with her father in a suburban setting. Two things worry her; one is her cat, alone in the city, and her brother Mathias, an artist working in Koekelberg's cathedral, a relic of the past. Eva's relation with her father becomes more complicated when Mathias disappears. Going to the cathedral, she runs into a man without a hand, and his criminal partner. Both men are after her brother. Eva going to the highest part of the temple walks to the edge of the balcony. She is saved from jumping by Peter who has come after her.

The Malandrin brothers created a psychological drama which is playing in Eva's head, even before the accident. The emotions running through her are too strong for her to get a handle in the situation. She has always pushed by her father, who one can only compare to a stage mother, living through Eva his own failures. The two menacing figures are obviously a product of her imagination. Not being able to get to Mathias, who might, or not be dead, paralyzes her with fear. It is only when Eva decides to confront reality when the drama in her head is solved.

A brilliant Cecile De France shines in the film. She is almost unrecognizable with her dark hair. Like in "Un secret", Ms. De France does wonders with her characters. She makes quite an impression for her intelligent approach to her Eva. Ulrich Tuckur, the German actor, has the chance to show his talents as the obsessive man behind his talented daughter.

Nicholas Guicheteau, the cinematographer captures in dark tones the essence of the film, taking us to the cathedral at Koekelberg in all its splendor. The incidental music is by Jeff Mercelis. This is the second of the Malandrin brothers' films and one can only wish them the best in future endeavors.


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