Gijón: 9mm and Eldorado shown in competition

Article published on Nov. 28, 2008
Article published on Nov. 28, 2008
Two very different titles proving the diversity of recent Belgian productions are being presented in competition this week at the 46th Gijón Film Festival: 9 mm, the second feature by the Turkish-born, Brussels-based filmmaker Taylan Barman and the multiple award-winning Eldorado [trailer] by actor-turned-director Bouli Lanners (see interview).

After Au-delà de Gibraltar (2001), Barman is back with a cross between a thriller and a family drama that follows the points of view of its three main characters: a man and woman on the verge of separation and their problematic teenage son.

With a chronological deconstruction of the plot and several sequence shots that follow the characters actions (showing Gus Van Sant as a clear influence), 9 mm is a film trying to communicate with audiences about the problem of non-communication.

Says Barman: “The son, for instance, is a very introverted character, with a quite strong inner charge, but totally incapable of showing it to his family. The three characters are about to explode. That can happen at any moment of the single day during which the story is told.”

The director also confessed at the press conference that his path in cinema was totally unplanned: “It was a quite natural process. As a young man, instead of wasting my time in the streets with my friends, I got a camera and started shooting a few things around me. After showing them in a few festivals some people got interested, but we can really say I ended up doing cinema by chance”.

Produced by Saga Film, 9 mm has already premiered in Belgium and its scheduled to be released in France in early December.

Eldorado is an unexpected road movie featuring a car dealer and a young drug addict, set in Wallonie (the southern region of Belgium amazingly shot by Lanners as if it was part of the great US landscapes). Produced by Versus Productions with France’s Les Productions Lazennec, Eldorado was first seen this year at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight.

Lanners – awarded in Gijón in 2005 for his directorial debut Ultranova [trailer, film focus] – was not at the festival. Instead, Fabrice Adde spoke of the film and the director’s methods. “Some of the scenes were improvised or co-written with Bouli just a couple of days before,” he said. “Some directors write films without really thinking about the actors. It’s almost as if they were afraid of them. Others decide to cast non-actors to play themselves. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Bouli. I stand for film actors, for people capable of transforming themselves. Otherwise we would be stuck in a total narcissism.”

Vitor Pinto