- 2h 7min
The drama follows two brothers who start a bar and get swept up in its success in the midst of Belgium's nightlife scene.The drama follows two brothers who start a bar and get swept up in its success in the midst of Belgium's nightlife scene.The drama follows two brothers who start a bar and get swept up in its success in the midst of Belgium's nightlife scene.
This film is heavily inspired by Van Groeningen's own life: his father was the owner of the famous bar 'Charlatan' in Ghent, which is the inspiration for the bar 'Belgica' in the film. The bar is owned by two brothers, who expand the rather modest café with a concert hall and a VIP-bar. But with the success of the bar come all sorts of problems. The two brothers drift apart, and in the end the bar becomes a burden and a source of conflict.
The film contains many scenes of heavy partying, drinking and dancing. But the story is about the relationship between the brothers, who are rather different in character. The youngest is business-minded and responsible, the oldest is a troublemaker who neglects his wife and child in order to enjoy the sex, drugs and rock and roll in the Belgica.
The problem is that this contrast between the two characters is a bit meager to carry the whole film. There are some side stories, mostly about girls, but on the whole the story is rather flimsy. This film is not a careful dissection of brotherhood, but a straightforward account of the rise and fall of a bar.
The cinematography is above average: the partying crowds are nicely filmed in varying styles. Sometimes in a warm glow, sometimes in cold and hard lighting. There's also a lot of nice music in the film. But on the whole, this film lacks the subtlety and originality of Van Groeningen's previous movie, 'The Broken Circle Breakdown'.
- Mar 5, 2016