Very good first film, «Someone Else's Happiness» tells parallel stories in several homes of a Belgian rural community, all centered around the death of a boy, hit by an anonymous driver. The characters include the parents of the dead kid, a housewife whose husband is acting strange; a woman that is divorcing from a husband who is constantly announcing his suicide; her chatty mother and nutty sisters, policemen, a psychotic neighbor, a mechanic, an ex-wrestler, many kids, a dog and the ghost of the dead kid. There are two or three suspects of the hit-and-run killing, all with very unstable behaviors, immersed in mysterious personal dramas. Different persons cry every now and then, out of unhappiness, but they never fall into long psychological speeches, they just go along with their lives.
The strange combination in the movie is Peter Van Laerhoven's fine score, that keeps moving the story into thriller territory, and Fien Troch's direction, which is strongly rooted in the aesthetics of observational art cinema. I first saw her third feature, the remarkable« Kid», about a little boy who struggles against the dissociation of his family unit. With these two films, along with «Home» (2016), Troch reveals herself as an interesting filmmaker, concerned with themes and situations related to family, children and adolescence, from a different point of view, showing the evidence of alienation and social disintegration, avoiding the trap of melodrama. I highly recommend her movies, for they are fine examples of good, alternative cinema.
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