Josse De Pauw

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Vinyan Review


Grim
A vivid example of style over substance, this textured film creates an overwhelming sense of emotion and dread, but never manages to find a point to it all. It merely gives into the grisliness, leaving us shaken and unstirred.

Six months after their son was killed in a tsunami, Janet and Paul (Beart and Sewell) are still living in Phuket nursing their grief. But Janet is convinced that he must be alive and living up-river in Burma, so convinces Paul to fund a desperate expedition. Their first guide (Pankratok) is a bit of a crook, but they soon link with Thaksin (Osthanugrah) and another expat, Kim (Dreyfus). And the further they venture into this strange region, the more bizarre things get.

Continue reading: Vinyan Review

Vinyan Review


Weak
Coming on the heels of the spellbinding backwoods horror flick Calvaire, Belgian filmmaker Fabrice Du Welz's Vinyan is an incredibly intense and, sadly, obtuse third-world metaphysical thriller that is bound to disappoint less discriminating viewers. Maybe even discriminating ones.

Ostensibly a mash-up of tsunami-inspired tragedy and Lord of the Flies-styled allegory, Vinyan opens with an Anglo couple, Paul (Rufus Sewell) and Jeanne (Emmanuelle Béart), living on the Thai coast and trying to get on with their lives six months after the tsunami swept their little boy away. Attending an art opening, they see a grainy film of Burmese children left to fend for themselves in abandoned jungle outposts and Jeanne sees her son among them. While the image is never clear (the child is hobbling away from the camera), Jeanne is convinced and immediately plunges into the Bangkok night, a riot of neon and prostitution, to find a human smuggler who can take her to where the film was shot. Led by Thaksin Gao (played by the affable and afroed Petch Osathanugrah), Paul and Jeanne sail into war -torn Burma to find the "white child" in the country's fog, mud, and forest. Of course, that's when things get bizarre, and the film spins out leisurely towards a mind-boggling conclusion.

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S. Review


Terrible
Baffling, and not in a good way. This Belgian production offers a bisexual stripper on a killing spree, and that's about the sum of it. It's meant to be stylistic and Natural Born Killersish, but since we don't care about heroine S. (Natali Broods) or her victims, that leaves us with just the copious sex scenes. And frankly, they aren't all that hot anyway.

Everybody's Famous! Review


Weak
Social satires are tricky vehicles because you need the correct edge to convey its message. In director-writer Deruddere's well-intentioned but misguided satire Everybody's Famous!, there's a routine angle about the Everyman trying to buck the conventions of an otherwise lackluster existence. The problem is that Deruddere (Love Is a Dog From Hell) tries to tackle too many frantic points in a hokey comedy that's so perfunctory and meandering. This Belgian product scored an Academy Award nomination in last year's Best Foreign Film category. With that being said, someone must have mistaken this unfocused farce for that of a frothy, insightful comedy. Stagey and recklessly excitable for its own good, Everybody's Famous! reaches for routine laughs in an all-too-familiar venue of ordinary folks trying to do too many things in the name of well-meaning desperation.

The story features a flustered father named Jean Vereecken (Josse De Pauw) who has a crazy vision of grandeur when he contemplates the notion of turning his talent-challenged, plump daughter Marva (Eva van der Gucht) into a glorified, moneymaking pop star. The poor gal is so earnest in her attempt to please her weary middle-aged father that she subjects herself to constant humiliation. This includes entering karaoke contests in which laryngitis-inflicted patients have a better chance at winning than the put-upon diva wannabe. But despite the obvious void in Marva's singing ability, Jean still stubbornly pens songs for his little gal to vocalize, with uneven results.

Continue reading: Everybody's Famous! Review

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