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The Praying Mantis (2004)

Le festin de la mante (original title)
While driving through the south of Belgium, the violoncellist Julien meets the mysterious and gorgeous Sylvia on the road and he immediately has a crush on her. They move together to his ... See full summary »


Marc Levie


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Cast overview:
Lou Broclain Lou Broclain ... Sylvia
Yann Chely Yann Chely ... Julien
Sasa Nikolic Sasa Nikolic ... Patrick (as Sacha Kollich)
Adele Jacques ... Claudine (as Adèle Jacques)
Hugues Hausman Hugues Hausman ... Alain
Michel de Warzee Michel de Warzee ... Georges
Serge Swysen Serge Swysen ... Jean
Renaud Boucquey Renaud Boucquey ... L'homme du cimetière
Samuel Lemaire Samuel Lemaire ... L'homme à la calèche
Stéphane Shoukroun Stéphane Shoukroun ... L'homosexuel (as Stéphane Schoukroun)
Félix Verbist Félix Verbist ... Le curé
Ulysse Waterlot Ulysse Waterlot ... Le chef d'orchestre


While driving through the south of Belgium, the violoncellist Julien meets the mysterious and gorgeous Sylvia on the road and he immediately has a crush on her. They move together to his huge house and Julien builds a greenhouse for Sylvia in the field of his real state, where becomes her favorite place. One day, Sylvia has a strange behavior with Julien and asks him to stay alone at home. When Julien leaves the house, she goes to a construction nearby her property and brings to her house the daredevil biker Patrick that is working in the building, playing erotic games with him. When Julien returns home, he surprises the couple having sex and the upset Julien leaves the place, going to the house of his friend and also musician Jean. But Julien is consumed by his passion for Sylvia, and when she tells him that she loves him, he understands her predatory need of life force of her mate. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

27 April 2005 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

La mante See more »

Filming Locations:

Brussels and vicinity, Belgium See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Featured in Ne faites pas de cinéma! (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

An intriguing supernatural surprise
2 August 2004 | by dreadprSee all my reviews

A rather off-beat delight from Belgium, Praying Mantis seemingly starts in a merely quirky manner before fully morphing into a somewhat chaotic supernatural story.

Admittedly I didn't realize there were supernatural themes before seeing the movie but having them come as a surprise probably added to the story which is, at face value, simple enough: a man meets a strange woman on the side of the road, takes her home and they start a relationship of sorts. But she is not what she seems and despite an obvious affection for him rebuffs his sexual advances only to accept a rogue into her 'bed' instead. But who is the real predator here? Well of course SHE is.

Although the film fails to make a lot of things clear and leaves a number of questions unanswered, the overall storyline is quite compelling as it really is an exploration of people's emotions and their reactions to their desires and love. From the besotted 'hero' willing to give up everything even once he discovers the truth, to the poor girlfriend of the local daredevil who will sleep with anything and anyone, it's an interesting emotional montage.

However probably my favourite part of this flick is the simply delightful initial sex scene where the director flexes his creative muscles to emphasise not only the predatory nature of his femme fatale but the similarities between human mating and the mating dances of animals. A seemingly playful blindfolded foreplay descends into a choreographed dance that is part animal, part graceful ballet. You almost forget the nudity it's so well done.

It's a theme that is later repeated in the background in one of the more surreal cinematic moments of all-time: where we have our hero playing the cello in the snow (during a heatwave) while his love cavorts ballet-style naked with her lover in a greenhouse in the background. Very impressive.

Overall this was an intriguing and enjoyable experience. So much so that you're willing to overlook the lack of explanation of a few key elements such as her background (probably not necessary in truth), the hero's discovery of his own corpse, and the seeming discordant chronology with our woodnymph/siren/succubus.

Still it's worthwhile seeing if you enjoy movies willing to look at people and their emotions and discard Hollywood formulae.

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