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  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Val Lewton productions were the first movies which introduced unusual things and irrational into daily life :best example remains "the seventh victim" directed by Mark Robson in 1943;both Polanski's horror movies "Le Locataire" aka "the tenant" and Rosemary's baby -here the major influence- are part of THAT tradition too.And most amazing thing,Belgian Andre Delvaux's works mix dream/nightmare with a disturbed reality too.The black and white documentary Marie watches has something eerie ,something irrational ,something frightening ;the people's face are bizarre,almost threatening:how not to think of this little odd film Yves Montand and his mates watch in a tiny movie theater in an (imaginary?) village.

    "Left Bank" takes place in the wrong side of town ,a vague curse hangs over this place -like the Bradford building.A series of bizarre warnings,of mysterious disappearances ;Marie is like Alice,she is on the other side of the mirror .Bobby is an athletic self-assured boy he's got nothing of a Guy Woodhouse.And her Mamie is no Minnie Castevet either.And however,Marie is more and more alone except for the short moments she shares with Dirk (who plays more or less the part of Hutch).

    When the movie begins ,Marie is a well-balanced girl ,isn't she a race champion?Her rational world is going to crumble as she begins to suffer physically and mentally.Events which happened a long time ago seems to happen again (or to be about to happen again).

    The sun rarely shines on this "black hole" .The scene in the cemetery is so dark the picture seems to be black and white.SPOILER.In fact ,the only really luminous scene is the birth.As Beth Gibbons 's magnificent "mysteries" -an exact equivalent of Rosemary's lullaby- fills the air,a long tracking depicts the urban landscape -another subconscious ? tribute to Polanski.

    "Linkeroever" has something deadly ,something demonic ,a movie which leaves questions unresolved ;no horror and fantasy buff can be impervious to its charm.
  • My beloved Belgium country hasn't got much of an impressive history when it comes to horror cinema, but at least there have always been enthusiast and visionary directors that tried to make a difference. Back in the 70's there was Harry Kümel (whose movies "Malpertuis" and "Daughters of Darkness" are highly desired and acclaimed cult-collector items nowadays), then there's Jan Verheyen (who also hosts horror movie screenings on Belgian TV) and since recently we have Pieter Van Hees. Van Hees is an extremely devoted fan of the genre, as it is illustrated in his absurdly grotesque and engrossing short movie "Black XXX-Mas" as well as in this slow-brooding and atmospheric thriller "Linkeroever". The title literally means Left Bank and refers to a very well known living area in Antwerp. It's a reputedly "troubled" area since the Middle Ages already, with dark historical secrets and mysterious inhabitants, and thus the ideal setting for a sinister story. Marie is a young and talented but introvert athlete who suddenly falls ill and gets forced to cancel her participation in a prominent European tournament. She moves in with her new boyfriend Bobby and, mostly out of boredom, begins to investigate the mysterious unsolved disappearance of the previous tenant. I don't want to reveal too much about the complex and extremely unsettling story, but the script hints at horrific elements such as human sacrifices, reincarnation, pagan rites, excommunication, witches and super massive black holes. "Linkeroever" is basically a typical folklore tale, but set in a present day social environment and decorated with style & content elements that are borrowed from similarly-themed international horror classics like "The Wicker Man", "Blood on Satan's Skin" and "Rosemary's Baby". Pieter Van Hees generates a depressing and constantly grim atmosphere through simple tricks (autumn weather conditions, pauperized living areas…) and patiently takes the time to unfold the story and draw detailed character portraits. The denouement isn't that difficult to predict – especially not when you have experience with occult horror – but it nevertheless evokes a handful of genuine chills and nightmarish afterthoughts. Considering the fairly low budget and overall tense ambiance of the film, you shouldn't hope for a lot of bloodshed, though. Van Hees could rely on a professional crew as well. The photography, editing and musical guidance are damn close to brilliant and, following good old Belgian traditions, the film contains several dared but tasteful and quintessential sex sequences. Eline Kuppens is simply fantastic in her screen debut and she carries the entire motion picture like it's the easiest job in the world. She's a natural beauty with the talent and perseverance to make it even in the international film industry. Kuppens receives excellent support from the handsome young actor Matthias Schoenaerts and a couple of Flemish TV-screen veterans like Marilou Mermans, Frank Vercruyssen and Sien Eggers. Recommended for anyone who can speak the language and fundamental viewing for all Belgian film freaks.
  • It took me 8 years to see this flick which in fact started the fame of Matthias Schoenaerts. He's leading here in this dark supernatural flick. I was lucky to have worked with him just before he left for Hollywood so I'm happy he signed this DVD. But back to this flick. Not only is Matthias above mediocre, the girl (Marie) he met is played by Eline Kuppens, not that famous but she also delivers the best.

    The supernatural thing going on is the fact that Marie get injured while running in the woods. Her knee is damaged and slowly that knee decides her life. She falls for the smooth talking Bob (Schoenarts). They have sex everywhere they can have it and it's shown, both go the full monty.

    It's towards the end when Marie is solving the puzzle that the supernatural comes in. The ending is an enigma, nothing is really explained.

    Nice editing and shooting and the score do adds something special to the atmosphere. I can understand why this flick can be found at a lot of horror conventions. But if you want the original DVD that came out in Belgium you will have to search really hard, it's OOP. Luckily elsewhere in the world it's sold as Left Bank. A must see.

    Gore 0/5 Nudity 2/5 Effects 2,5/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
  • The synopsis for 'Left Bank' sounded interesting to me, and with my intentions to start watching more European films I decided to give this one a go. Unfortunately the synopsis, while ultimately accurate, isn't really a good indication of what the film is like. The problem for me was that the main character 'Marie' didn't really know that anything was amiss - and so there was no mystery. If she's not solving a mystery, how can we be?

    I also found the film quite dull for large parts through the middle. The characters were so bland that couldn't carry anything, and all that was left was the story. There was a little bit of intrigue in that respect, but not enough. This is a very sexual film. Some very explicit sex scenes and a lot of nudity.

    I don't even know really how I'd describe this film to someone. It's a hard film to put in a genre. Because ultimately it's intended as a horror, but when you think back on it there isn't a lot to actually support that. Whatever it falls into though one thing's for sure - I won't remember this film a week from now.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Marie, a fine and committed athlete, has been overdoing it, with the result that she needs to take an urgent rest. Determined to look at the bright side, she goes to parties, eats rich food and, especially, makes sweet sweet love to her new boyfriend Bobby, an archer. Indeed, things work out so well with Bobby that she moves into his apartment, on Antwerp's Left Bank. Gradually she develops an interest in the history of the apartment, which, strangely, involves the unexplained disappearance of a former tenant...

    "Linkeroever" is a horror movie, and a good one at that : well-written, well-acted (in fact, very well-acted), well-filmed and well-directed. It is also a subtle one, which requires careful attention to detail : a little sentence here, a barely glimpsed photograph or newspaper title there. The symbolism too is rich and subtle, but I've got a little clue for you, to wit the word "chtonic"...

    It all ends in one of the most jaw-dropping "What did I just see ?!!" endings in modern horror movies. If you have been paying close attention the finale will not come entirely from the planet Jupiter, but even then it's a beauty.

    The movie can also be read in another way, as a psychological study of the mental horrors which befall a well-trained, committed athlete after running into a serious medical problem. For many athletes such a reverse can mean not only a financial setback plus a loss of a beloved career, but even a loss of identity, of self. In a certain sense Marie is disintegrating before our very eyes, turning into a pain-crippled shade of her former self...

    "Linkeroever" is not a perfect movie ; for instance, it might have been wise to pay a little more time and attention to Bobby's environment of friends, family, fellow archers. But it's certainly an accomplished and rewarding one. People interested in the movie's importance and genealogy can do worse than look at a recent Flemish documentary called "Forgotten scares". (Wrote a small review there too.)
  • The very sexiest vamp movie since 'Habbit' and just as dark. Originates out of Belgium, which like France, makes movies which are able to 'Push the Envelope'. Good effort that will not disappoint.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Though the Brussels Fantastic Film Festival is renowned worldwide, Belgium has never had much of a horror tradition, occasional excursions like Harry Kümel's gruesome twosome DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS and MALPERTUIS notwithstanding. Unlike neighboring country the Netherlands, whose recent spate of splatter offerings cheerfully cannibalized American genre products, my homeland's modest attempts are closer in spirit to what the French categorize as "le fantastique", eerie tales of events that defy explanation that creep under your skin and haunt you for days after-wards. Not to claim that we don't look for influences elsewhere, I will admit to a defensible degree of chauvinism in that Belgian filmmakers have incorporated them better into personal to the point of idiosyncratic narratives. Young director Pieter Van Hees made a splash with his mean-spirited short BLACK XXX-MAS, purposefully packing tons of extreme effects into its brief running time. If he were to extend that style to feature length, the results would be close to unbearable. Thankfully, LINKEROEVER proves a complete departure, taking its time to set up a recognizable situation with alarming elements seeping in from the edges. A directorial debut, the film came to pass as part of the TV-sponsored "Faits Divers" cycle which had until now limited itself to light comedies like VERLENGD WEEKEND or VIDANGE PERDUE and worthy social dramas like DENNIS VAN RITA or DE HEL VAN TANGER. Series producer Jan Verheyen is one of the keenest commercial minds in a country that still frowns upon such worldly preoccupations when it comes to art forms, preferring instead to keep its head solidly lodged up its rectum and lose money on endeavors no one but the most tragically hip care to see. Fortunately, the tide seems to be changing and thanks to the likes of Verheyen, whose movies actually make a profit thereby opening up possibilities for other talented filmmakers, our cinematic culture is being enriched and diversified, no longer a source of ridicule.

    Getting off my high horse and back to LINKEROEVER, Van Hees has liberally borrowed elements from Roman Polanski's THE TENANT and ROSEMARY'S BABY, Robin Hardy's one-off THE WICKER MAN and the recent glut of J-Horror (DARK WATER especially) for a story that still manages to considerable feat of seeming authentic and somewhat unpredictable even to the seasoned viewer's eye. At least some of the film's success must be attributed to its location, the left bank of the River Schelde in Antwerp the title refers to. A place of seclusion in the Middle Ages for criminal and excommunicated elements of the thriving city, its quiet, almost desolate atmosphere could not be further removed from the metropolis's bustle to this very day. I used to have friends living there (a gay couple, one of them chairperson of the Lowlands Abba fan club, and like their idols since split up) and always felt it to be the ideal place to shoot a horror movie. Just a matter of time then. Driven track runner Marie (an astonishing performance by frequently nude – don't worry, it's justified ! – first time actress Eline Kuppens, whose radiant smile will remind you of Rachel McAdams) suffers an injury which forces her out of competition for a while and finds she has but little of a life outside of sports. Her dotty, health food store running mom (wonderful character actress Sien Eggers) means well but drives her up the walls so she seeks solace in a torrid affair with semi-accidentally met mystery hunk Bobby, played very well by handsome Matthias Schoenaerts, son of late local theater legend Julien. She moves into his apartment on the left bank and while all seems fine at first, matters grow progressively more disquieting when Marie learns that the flat's former owner disappeared without a trace and that her boyfriend's the head honcho of a Freemason type community that has been active since Medieval times called the Dragon's Guild. Their symbol is a dragon biting its own tail, which Bobby tellingly describes as "each beginning is a new ending" while you would logically expect it to be the other way round. Plagued by increasingly bizarre visions, some of them apparently involving a black well in the basement, Marie starts missing out on her period and her wound grows ever more grotesque…

    Eschewing expected shocks for most of its running time, LINKEROEVER slowly initiates audiences into its outwardly normal but seriously askew universe through identification with its strong, sympathetic heroine. Secrets are never revealed to us before Marie learns of them, leading to an ending few will see coming. Speaking of which, and without giving away to much, this must surely be one of the most hauntingly beautiful codas in recent memory. Stubbornly refusing to make sense on a logical, cerebral level, it does so perfectly from an emotional point of view. What's more, with all the darkness that has preceded it, this actually lets viewers leave the theater with a strange sense of elation approaching happiness though this is by no means a traditional happy ending ! Did I arouse your curiosity ? Good ! Van Hees beautifully sustains the mood of impending dread by all means at his disposal. Cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis makes splendid use of the cloud-packed skies adding to the oppressive atmosphere in exquisitely effective contrast with the golden light that dominates the latter part of the picture. Music is sparingly and equally effectively employed, with a jarringly edited party sequence tearing your senses to shreds. As with everything else here, this aural and visual assault serves a definite purpose, to pull away all vestiges of the familiar for characters and viewers alike. In interviews, the director and his entourage have claimed this film as some sort of "dry run" for their upcoming DIRTY MIND with comedian Wim Helsen. If so, that should be awesome. A remarkably assured work, LINKEROEVER already stands as one of the finest films of 2008 right out of the gate.
  • There are only so many story lines guys. All Romcoms are about getting the girl, action flicks about getting the honour or the loot and so on. So yes this is an old story like Rosemary's baby and many many more.

    Why do i give this one so much credit? Because it's a subtle story with solid acting. No Hollywood over abundance. Just a very well acted film with a classic story that moves slowly but steadily forward to a surprising ending. The story is rounded. There is a why and a how appose to just horror for the making of a scary film. I thought it to be very original within it's genre and the ending is brilliant. It has the suspense of the old Polanskis like The Tennant. Who can we thank for this? Matthias Schoenaerts! What's not too love about this flemish gem.
  • I'm an American w/ some familiarity w/ Antwerp and I enjoyed seeing it on film. The influence of Rosemary's Baby is obvious. While this is not in the same league, it does have some things going for it: good photography and music and 2 good leads: Schoenaerts and Eline Kuppens. (I'm not sure how good Schoenaerts is but he's nude 5 minutes after it begins so I can forgive a lot.) Probably the weak link here is the screenplay. The ending makes no sense whatsoever but getting there was enjoyable enough that I didn't much care. Atmospherics, mood, that kind of thing can be incredibly important in a film and Left Bank is quite good in the mood department. It helps too, of course, that the film is anchored by 2 strong performances.
  • Set in a region of Antwerp with a dark Medieval past, the mood of this flick is one of which the sun would not rather spill its radiance upon, instead hiding behind of wall of cloudy gloom, infinitely waiting for the darkness below to pass such that it can make its tardy appearance. It has been a long wait, and this flick offers no reprieve. Instead, this tale is of the seedy underbelly of ineffable undertakings, and our heroine must learn first hand of that which is best left on the other side. Eline Kuppens does just that in her commendable debut, laudably including enough skin to impress a taxidermist. This atmospheric horror from Belgium, a place not known for great horror, is the exception to its usually mediocrity, crafting stories of past times into a sweet little cringer. Maybe this country, known more for its border intrusive neighbors, is set upon changing its stale cinematic presence. Whether the exception or the vanguard, Left Bank is an unusual treat from an even more unusual source. Merci beaucoup.

    Genruk of Evil Eye Reviews
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Eh, another horror film that looks good but is annoying instead of scary or at least interesting. The biggest problem by far was the lead character, some moody young runner chick whom I just can't empathize with. She's boring, self-absorbed, and never seems to show kindness to anyone, so I don't care about her. She's not even that fit or attractive.

    Also, the filmmaker's showing you her heavy period stains followed by her finding a mess of black powder inside her panties, which she just dusts off before pulling them up again -- I don't care if she's a chick, that's gross! I also don't understand why the filmmakers insisted on showing her naked or half-naked so much -- maybe they think it shows how vulnerable she is, or it's some kind of statement about separating the female body from sexuality, but it just made me horny. It felt inappropriate - this is obviously marketed as a serious horror movie, not a damn softcore porn.

    On top of that there's a predictable plot about human sacrifice on Halloween that's nothing new and has been done better. I guess I didn't like this movie very much, but that's hard to admit because it LOOKED good and the acting was okay.
  • jntrla-0512921 July 2019
    I bought this movie at blockbuster years ago and was glad i did it exceeded my expectations its a slow burn kinda but different than most ive seen i just liked the angle on it and how it was conducted myself
  • A kind of Rosemary's Baby meets Dark Water, Left Bank unfortunately has more in common with the latter's fascination with mood over a new or just tightly cogent story. Left Bank is better than most J-horror remakes but takes too long to get to the genre trappings it ultimately relies on. The lead, Eline Kuppens, is believable as an athlete and is competent in her acting but doesn't have any real screen charisma. The role really requires the European counterpart to a Mia Farrow or Naomi Watts, especially in the long opening section which plays more as a psychological thriller than horror film. That too is a problem: the story, which is neither terribly new or frightening, just takes too long to admit for all its psychological tension, it's nothing more than a horror pic. As such, it fails to deliver a truly quirky scenario and strikes out totally when it comes to real scares.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    OK, Just seen this movie with a couple of friends... Let me just say up front that if I knew this film was as it is, I wouldn't even bothered to go. Me and my friend literally were debating of leaving the cinema.

    But some things about the film first, I knew the basic outlining of the film... Nice quiet place called Linkeroever has a nasty history, can be made good in anyone's book I reckon.

    But as we see with so many movies. A good idea just isn't enough when not properly worked out. There are no actors in this film (or only bad ones), bad script, bad editing , bad music , ... Can't say one good thing about it actually (except maybe for the funny - out of this world - love scenes throughout this picture )

    My advice, see something better !!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I first watched this movie expecting an ordinary suspense/horror type of film. But Left Bank quickly captivated my attention. This is very good cinema. The actors are convincing. The plot is well sculptured. The soundtrack adds to the atmosphere, especially when the voices start to get distorted. At some point you start hearing echo when the characters speak. Very intriguing. This is a movie about mother Nature. The earth is a character on its own. There is a parallel between being a woman and the laws of nature. I like this idea of having a building standing on some kind of black hole that has mysterious powers. One of the most scary scenes is when the girl has a nightmare in which she sees herself breastfeeding her boyfriend in a park. That was pretty gripping, something you'd see in a David Lynch film. Why is this movie so unknown? It deserves to be respected. See it if you liked Rosemary's Baby or if you are into crazy stuff like Possession (1981). You wont be disappointed.