3 March 2009 | RResende
You can hardly get more unpretentious than what you have here.
It's elementary clear how this is made, the devices that were used, and the effective it is and this is a good thing, in this case.
Check how the story and the mood is built right from the first scene. A minor traffic accident in a parking lot, that begins an argument. The scene starts as a piece of ordinary life, goes on as a light word-based argument, and finishes in a funny mood. Notice how every word and sentence in this argument is designed to cause an immediate impression without becoming dark or even heavy. That's the mood of the film. It lives on daily lives, it introduces deviating elements, that usually work out funny (the introduction of the lesbian theme was a great moment, among others)and with this mood evokes a sense of tenderness, what audiences may call "romance". The fact that the people who conceived this were able to synthesize this so economically and efficiently in one single scene is really impressive. This is one of the most meaningful first scenes i've seen.
I place this with 3 recent comedies that among many differences share a common sense of unpretentiousness, something that admits cinema is a piece of entertainment, that things have to be successful and effective in the eye, and through the dialogues, IN the world of the film, without meaning that the film should moralize or search for superior answers to common themes. These films i saw recently are "Juno", "Little miss Sunshine" and this one. Of the 3, this was the best, to me. It deviates from Hollywood canons even more than the other two, and that may be the reason.
It works for the performances, acting, which were surprisingly direct and grasping. I know very few or nothing about Belgian (or equivalent) acting traditions, but i am guessing (may be wrong) that this is inserted in a longer tradition of acting with fluidity, what some may consider "natural" acting. I wouldn't dare to mistake this for "real" life, as i suppose many spectators will, but this is a really well shaped cartoon world. Representation, that's what this is... the guy goes often to Italy, and speaks Italian many times, a language that in some of its golden moments in art is meant to "sound" instead of really "mean".
Some cityscapes of the small town of Moscow, Belgium, is great. There was a competent eye for the city here as well.
My opinion: 4/5