Brabançonne (2014) Poster

(I) (2014)

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Flanders First Movie Musical
jarno-maertens17 April 2017
In recent years we had a lot of Flemish films trying to be American thrillers, yet this film preserved the 'Flemish' focusing on ordinary people in their ordinary environments. "Brabançonne" is occasionally a real Belgian joke in the positive sense of the word. Sometimes the story is a bit predictable, but marketed well the expectations a definitely set. "Brabançonne" delivers on every level.

The moment the movie starts you immediately get used to the Flemish and Walloon classic songs, used very effectively in this film. Sometimes you could be worried director Bal went overboard with it, but in the end he never loses focus and everything comes together in a beautiful and overplayed ending bringing nice relaxing and digestible entertainment for all movie and music lovers.
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A rhapsody for mind and soul
ccorral41911 January 2016
Belgian Rhapsody (Brabanconne). Director Vincent Bal and Producer Peter Bouckaert decided a musical comedy, featuring dueling Brass Bands from the varied segments within Belgian people, was a good way to comically highlight the divide within their country. Featuring a cast of relatively unknown actors, we are introduced to the Flemish (Sint- Cecilia) and the Walloon (French speaking - En Avant) bands as they compete for the right to represent their country in a larger competition. While one band features a hot-headed sexy and talented horn player Hugues (Arthur Dupont), the other has its own more reserved yet talented horn player who literary blows his last breathe at the competition. Soon, both sides are fighting for Hugues' attention, all the while new and hidden sexual attractions build within each band. Cinematography by Danny Elsen beautifully highlights how special the Belgian communities can be. And, Bal (along with writer Pierre De Clercq) manages to make the musical interludes plausible by intertwining cute, catchy songs currently on the Belgian radio airwaves. "Belgian Rhapsody is a French film with English Sub-Titles, which at times make it hard to distinguish between the films two excellent female leads (who have a tendency to look alike). However, director Bal assures the viewing audience "if you speak the language, you won't have this dilemma". The diversity of the cast, and their opportunity to sing and dance their way into the viewing audiences heart, enables "Belgian Rhapsody" to be good clean lighthearted musical fun.
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strangely old-fashioned musical comedy about Belgo-Belgian bickering
myriamlenys17 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The movie defends a valuable idea, to wit the idea that both Flemings and Walloons should stop their unbecoming bickering and try to cooperate instead. It would be very hard (and very stupid) for me to disagree : as a Belgian with both Flemish and Walloon blood, I owe my existence to north-south cooperation of the most romantic kind. Therefore I give "Brabançonne" at least some stars. Make love not war, you people !

Having said this : "Brabançonne" has but few other charms to recommend it. The characters constantly break into song - think light, entertaining evergreens in French or Dutch - but many of the actors can't sing for toffee (or cake. or fudge. or pie.) By the same token many of the actors can't dance, perform stunts or move around a room convincingly ; there is a performance / adaptation of "ça plane pour moi", to quote but one example, that will haunt me to my dying day. This pretty much kills off the "musical" aspect of the movie. The "comedy" aspect isn't anything to write home about, either : the story is unsubtle and the jokes and dialogues are predictable.

If you would like to learn more about Belgian popular music - and why not, there are rich pickings to be found - I suggest that you leave "Brabançonne" be and begin your search on the internet or in the music shop. To remain within the movie's territory, I firmly recommend "ça plane pour moi" (a hymn to drug-fuelled mania), "Tombe la neige" (to be sung in a voice of manly disappointment, while biting back sobs) or "Verloren hart, verloren droom" (to be bellowed in a voice of manly despair, in between large swigs of beer).
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