27 October 2012

Our Children / À perdre la raison (Joachim LaFosse, 2012, Belgium)

Belgium's submission to the Academy Awards foreign film competition, this film is apparently based on a true story. Perhaps if I had known that going in, it would informed my viewing in such a way that I didn't find the film such a downer. It kind of uses the Lars Von Trier template where you start out with this great woman, and this case a very likable new husband, and drag her through endless unpleasantness until something dramatic happens. The film starts with the woman ( Émilie Dequenne) in an emergency room telling the nurses that her children needed to be buried in Morocco. We then see some small coffins being transported and then we start at the beginning of their friendship. She's a school teacher dating this resident at a hospital or something, played by the guy from A Prophet (Tahar Rahim). The old guy plays his friend/mentor is the old guy from A Prophet (Niels Arestrup). For financial reasons the couple move in with the older friend, who turns out to be married to the guy's sister, and the wife starts banging out kids while the audience is left wondering what kind of strange relationship is going on with the two men. The husband gradually becomes less and less sympathetic, but the movie still seems to expect us to sympathize with him and his desperate family. I just read a review that called the film emotionally draining and that's exactly how I would describe it. Maybe it's because I'm not particularly interested in all this breeding stuff, but I didn't find anything particularly appealing about the film as a whole, though I like most of the actors well enough.

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