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Lumumba (2000)
18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
inspiring tragedy, 13 January 2004

I liked this film but to like it, you must know more about the history of Congo. You must also know some more about Belgians and their disrespect (and that is a metaphore!) of the Congolese state.

Lumumba and the Congolese people didn't deserve this as he was right. We Belgians did exploit them for decades. But just because Lumumba reacted not so friendly to Bwana Kitoko (the king was called this way by the Congolese in a previous visit, he was hailed as a great leader) they had to further destabilize Congo and assassinate Lumumba. So he called for the help of the USSR, that was his only option as everybody else was against him. For the Congolese people the US didn't do anything like they did for us with the Marshall Plan. They did support Mobutu's cruel dictatorial rule with lots of money. What good did that do for the average Congolese?

And the trouble didn't stop with the flight of Mubutu. In modern sociological terms, Congo is considered a failed state. And that has it's reasons (and we Belgians are responsible for a large part of those). I hope that Lumuba's dream will still come true and that the Congolese peace process will last so peace and a way of living that is accepted by all Congolese may finally come for them.

Back to the film: You can't expect to understand the complex situation the new independent Congo was put in just by watching this film. That's like thinking the film Enemy at the Gates will explain me everything about the battle of Stalingrad. The film is restricted in many ways and the viewer must understand that. first: It's a film, not a documentary. Some of the scenes are interpretations but they are needed for the plot. second: The main character is Lumumba. Not everything about the troubles in Katanga or elsewhere is told, neither is everything about Mobutu told. It would have been an endless film that way. third: The film is an African film, let them create their own ways of telling this story. White people shouldn't tell them how to tell a story. But I'm glad that some funded this film that tell some people more about an unclear history. It might encourage them to find out more about Lumumba or various other things after the credits roll away and that is a good thing.

Silence (2001)
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
rough film with edges, 1 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This comment contains minor spoilers.

By accident I ran across this Polish film and I enjoyed it. The story of the movie is quite original and contains rough edges, like real life seems to have.

As there doesn't seem to be much information on this site available on this movie, I'll try to describe the 5 first minutes of the film. A boy accidently causes a car incident that leaves a little girl orphan. About 18 years later they meet again at a disco.

Don't expect a high budget spectacle, it's a low budget film with pretty views of Polish landscapes and a decent storyline. The movie is filmed in the perspective of a third person that is present on some of the key moments but not all knowing in every little detail. A clever little movie with good leading roles by Kinga Preis as Mimi and Bartosz Opania as Szymon.

Some people won't like this movie because it's quite sentimental and emotional or the problem of not knowing every little detail (a perspective that isn't used often in American films who dominate the cinemas). For those who don't mind seeing films like that, it's worth watching.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
well ..., 22 April 2003

It's easy to pick on this movie. Personally, I like bicycle races, it's more or less part of popular culture in my country (Belgium). So I do like the subject but the movie gives me the feeling they aren't focusing on the same sport I adore so much. The reason is not that it's an American race, those have existed as long as the races in Europe. The US even were one of the first countries that joined the UCI (World Cycling Organization, for the smart asses UCI is it's French name). Many immigrants imported their local cycling races to the States where they were popular among the working classes (as in Europe). So I don't accuse the US of not having a cycling past, they just focussed their attention more towards basketball, baseball, American football and athletics.

It just doesn't seem like cycling because the cyclists never gain a certain form or rhythm of competition. They just practice individually and perform good at those couple of races. But that's not reality. Lance Armstrong for instance races in many races for months to gain a certain rhythm that's good enough to win the Tour de France again. Off course, that would have made the movie dull and leaves less place for the Hollywood drama or the competition between the Americans and Soviets. But I liked the little part they offered the greatest cyclist ever, Eddy Merckx who won almost every big race in his career (only Paris-Tours he was unable to win).

I don't know why this movie was made. It more or less makes me think of Victory (Escape to Victory) where PoW's offer to play a football (soccer) match against a German team and escape during half time. Hollywood tries to use sports very popular in (some parts of) Europe but not in the States. Why? Profit? To promote these sports in the US? Both?

De fûke (2000)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
small jewel in Frisian, 12 December 2002

Since there isn't much info available on this movie, I'll try to give whatever I can to inform interested viewers. This movie isn't in Dutch, it's in Frisian. As a native Dutch speaking Belgian you don't have much notice of Frisian but I still could follow bits of the conversations.

The story is situated in occupied Friesland. A fisherman, his son and his wife live near a lake together with a jewish girl. The son is in the resistance and was spotted while picking up a weapons dropping on the lake. The following day they pick up the father and slowly the story unfolds itself. Don't expect a happy story or cinema with a capital C (like Eisenstein or Bergman). Still I think this movie has something to offer. A portrait of a story that happened in a time young people like me don't really understand (nor does the generation of my parents) so we can sort of try to understand why people acted like that in those days.

The movie didn't cost that much to make but still the results are nice. The opening shots give a nice overview of the Frisian landscape. I didn't regret seeing it one second.

This is the most Belgian movie I've ever seen., 9 December 2002

This is the most Belgian movie I've ever seen. Two Dutch-speaking brothers with their families travel to the south of Belgium for a holiday after their mother died. Bruno (Josse De Pauw) is a settled man who likes his job, wife, children etc. His brother Roger (Dirk Roofthooft) is the exact opposite of Bruno. He always wants more: money, a nicer looking wife, more sex, more power, being smarter etc. Roger is in some problems, having a large debt with some obscure people in Liège and wants Bruno to help him out.

Deruddere made this movie between some of his larger projects (Suite 16 and Iedereen beroemd) and it wasn't a big success. It also wasn't a high budget movie but not much Belgian movies are made with very large budgets (except when they handle about people like father Damian). It has been on television a couple of times and I enjoyed it very much. Not everybody will though because the humour is quite dark. It's a portrait of the way Belgians live nowadays (which is strange but still quite similar to our neighbouring countries). But the best thing about this movie is the soundtrack composed by Arno (Hintjens) which is superb!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A unique masterwork, 8 October 2002

This is the movie to which all those martini commercials refer to. The somewhat older guy, hair combed back, dark sunglasses and some of the most enchanting women I've ever seen. This so-called masterwork draw my attention and it definitely was worth it.

Throughout the film you keep wondering whether the director, the main character is either living through the moment or dreaming it. When you want to figure out the motives behind the title, the things the director or the other characters say, you almost need to read through a biography of Fellini. And even then it's pure speculation since it's "just a story"...

Beautiful women, magnificent scenes and camera positions, excellent choice of music. And then the plot, full of psychological references to probably the private life of Fellini. Cleverly done although it might seem to be a disaster. Not everyone will enjoy it though, it lacks the pace and action of modern Hollywood movies but it's worth a view if you want to see something else than the 'good guy winning some battle and rescuing the girl at the end of the movie'.