The Misfortunates

The Misfortunates
               Genre: Tragicomedy
  “God created the day and we dragged ourselves through it.” (Dimitri Verhulst: The Beschissene of things)

What is with the Belgian filmmakers going on? For years we had the impression that the Belgian film landscape would be almost exclusively from the Dardenne brothers, pushing for in recent years, young, mostly Flemish directors and produce a spectacular film after another. What this notice is its unsparing and disillusioned view of the marginal areas of the Belgian company to outsiders, and drop-outs, the freaks and the lonely. Koen Mortier’s Ex Drummer, Bouli Lanners’ Eldorado and now Felix van Groeningen The Misfortunates resemble each other so much in their themes and their attitude that many film critics that it contained a Belgian “can mean nouvelle vague”. A cinema, directs our attention to the social realities of the country and showing them mercilessly. The sober look at the borders and social imbalances, he unites upstart filmmakers like the Dardennes and Flemish newcomers like young savages, he builds bridges in a country that is divided by a dispute between the languages, cultures and mentalities as deeply than almost any other Central European nation.

is especially interesting here that this kind of filmmaking is also growing international attention. Even if some director is initially forced yet to make spectacular action in his film’s attention to himself. That’s what happened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, when Felix van Groeningen naked with his leading actors on the Croisette to the Palais de Festival, and rode it so promptly managed on a broad front in the media. The danger in such actions: Any reports on the event, hardly anyone on the film. What a shame, especially in the case of The Misfortunates. The film is namely a coming-of-age story of a somewhat different way: The really sad story of growing up in precarious situations is so superficially cheerful and terribly cryptic told that you never know whether to laugh or cry. One is inclined to do both at once.

The 13-year-old Gunther Strobbe (Kenneth Vanbaeden) lives with his father, a drunkard and ne’er Marcel aka Celle (Koen De Graeve) and his three uncles also scrapped Lowie / Petrol (Wouter Hendrickx), Pieter / Beefcake (Johan Heldenbergh) and Koen (Bert Haelvoet) for his kind grandmother (Gilda de Bal). While toiling the old lady, have four grown men is nothing but nonsense in their heads and are occupied with nothing else to defend the honor of Strobbe the village pub and highlights such as a Nacktfahrradrennen and a world record attempt in continuous beer drinking. And Gunther is always there.

It is clear that the influence of adults on him not just a positive effect. Even if the mad actions to ensure his father and his brothers again and again for amusement, is clearly later than the intervention of the youth welfare, this is not an environment in which a boy can develop normally. But Gunther is committed towards his father. The boy knows instinctively that this has a serious drinking problem and sooner or later going to the dogs. Can a thirteen take responsibility for his father? Or is the boy as recommended by the head teacher to go to a boarding school? Twenty years later, as Gunther (played by now became Valentijn Dhaenens), an unsuccessful writer who tries to bring his story to paper and his life on the line, it is unclear how much he was so busy all still. And you can feel the fear that he might be just like his father. Perhaps this is his predetermined road …

The submission to The Misfortunates comes from the pen of Belgium in a very successful writer Dimitri Verhulst and in Germany under the title The Beschissene of Things (stating the Belgian title of the film just that) published by Luchterhand. Together with the authors of the autobiographical novel, Felix van Groeningen has turned a terribly beautiful, very affectionate and desolate work that will hopefully find its way into the German cinemas. For, in addition to the laughter and the horror of a youth like this, the film gives us courage above all. Courage to try it despite all the bad experiences again and again, but still out of his life to make the best.

(Joachim Kurz)

Title: The Misfortunates Original Title: De helaasheid of hire Country of production: Belgium Year of production: 2009 Length: (# ) 108 (Min)

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