Georges, a workman in his forties, get unexpected released from jail after being imprisoned for two years for having passed a sexual relation with his daughter. Once arrived home, he ... See full summary »
Sort of a low-budget Short Cuts (1993), set in the Flemish port city of Antwerp on a warm day in June. Natalie, her brother Chouki, her boyfriend Walter and his ex Lara, the gallery keeper ... See full summary »
Diane De Belder,
Hector had been in the orphanage for 35 years, until his aunt Ella and uncle Achiel pick him up. They want him to work at their bakery. At his new home he also helps training Achiel's son, ... See full summary »
In a part of Flanders where flax is the main crop, farmer Vermeulen rules his estate like an 'old school' patriarch, stern and authoritarian, nobody else's word is ever taken seriously, ... See full summary »
Rene Van Sambeek,
Flanders' countryside in Belgium's early decades didn't belong to the hard-working farmers, like patriarch Van Paemel, who would rather die then consider any alternative to knowing his ... See full summary »
In the 1890s, Father Adolf Daens goes to Aalst, a textile town where child labor is rife, pay and working conditions are horrible, the poor have no vote, and the Catholic church backs the ... See full summary »
Antje de Boeck
A Flemish family comes together in their maternal home. Oscar, the grotesque patriarch, his bedridden wife Magda, his feeble son Johnny and his daughter Julia, who's married to a Moroccan ... See full summary »
Gilda De Bal,
Peter Van den Begin
I'll probably have to explain my comment summary a little for those people not living in Flanders, i'd say over 99.9 % of mankind. The so-called Battle of the Golden Spurs, dated the 11th of June 1302, was one of the armed conflicts between the king of France and his landlord, the Count of Flanders. Discussing the principles of early 14th-century feudalism at length would take us too far : let's just state that at numerous occasions, both parties would stress respectively their power & independence on the edge of a sword.
19th century novelist Hendrik Conscience turned this battle into a symbol of oppression of the Flemish people, telling a heroic and passionate story how the nobility & craftsmen from all over the land joined forces against twice as many opponents, simply stating : if we each kill two of them, there is no problem to speak of. Thanks to their courage, the muddy Groeningenkouter stream which hindered the French cavalry enormously & the mystical yet inspiring appearance of the captured nobleman Robert de Bethune as a knight dressed in golden armour, Flanders triumphed. (I will save you all that happened before, it's basically more patriotic heroism and more bloodshed in a black versus white portrayal that makes "the Patriot" look subtle.)
Conscience was one of the founding fathers of the so-called Flemish movement, pleading for recognition and respect for the Flemish language & culture in a Belgium that was dominated by French. Now, effective nationalism needs a heroic tale, and besides a short period of kicking the Spanish invaders, there was little to choose from. It is what you get when you are part of various empires for seven hundred years. In that perspective, De Leeuw van Vlaenderen is quite enjoyable, plus it kills a few hours.
Now, about the movie. It is very ambitious. It has Jan Decleir, our best actor ever in one of his best roles ever(as popular hero & resistance leader Jan Breydel - for the Americans : he always has that sarcastic Jack Nicholson thing going )a unique amount of genuine medieval locations & the best ... whatever. It does not have any French dialogue, while it's the second language in these parts for Christ's sake, and in either case we have very skilled actors in the French part of the country. It does not have great views; the historical settings are so tied up inside modern city centers the camera wringles itself to keep the cars out, though probably spotted some nevertheless. It does not have decent special effects, even for the mid-eighties, simultaneously with all that Friday the 13th-like gore : maybe arrows don't give up much blood in some places of the human body, but swords surely do. The acting feels rather artificial. And most of all, you cannot fake 90.000 men fighting a ferocious battle with about 1000 clowns running around on a field, leaving 5 yards minimum in between when not fighting or being dead. The shortage of manpower & effects screwing up the battle really screws up any credit one would have been willing to give the rest of the film. And if even Conscience did not consider the golden knight equals divine intervention in an empty harness to be credible, why should we ?
All together : if i might have 150 million dollars and some SFX crews to do a faithful adaption with some disembowlings this time.
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