Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brody's Journal... North Sea Texas, Belgium Director's Debut Feature Film Is Garnering Attention At Montreal Film Festival

By Brody Levesque | MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- A Belgian film of two teenage boys falling in love, North Sea Texas, has captivated audiences and critics alike at this year's Montreal World Film Festival.
The film, based on an adaptation of a heartwarming coming of age novel entitled This Is Everlasting, by writer André Sollie, stars Jelle Florizoone as Pim who loves a rough edged motorbike riding Gino played by Mathias Vergels.
This is Belgian director Bavo Defurne’s debut feature film. The Flemish-Belgian production was released earlier this year in Belgium and is enjoying its international premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival (which runs August 18-28) where it is screening in the First Films World Competition.
In an interview with The Montreal Gazette's syndicated columnist Richard Burnett, Defurne talks about the film:

“This film explores many of the same themes as my short films – the discovery that you are not the same as everybody else, that you are different,” says Defurne, the widely-acclaimed (and openly gay) director often described as Belgium’s best kept secret – until now, that is. “But my short films didn’t go far enough, they didn’t explore what happened afterwards.”
“Coming of age films usually end with the discovery of one’s identiy, but in this film identity is not the issue, it is about love,” Defurne says. “The film is about what’s next. It is film about finding happiness. So many [gay films] do little to uplift gay people. I saw Brokeback Mountain and it is a touching and heartbreaking film that makes us all cry, but not in a good way. I wanted to make a film about the life they could have had, a happy film.”
Defurne and producer Yves Verbraeken- who co-wrote the screenplay, had problems securing the necessary financing to make the film. Defurne told Burnett:
“Belgium is a country of beer drinkers and there is one Belgian beer company who sponsors all films and they told us, ‘Your film is not the target audience of beer drinkers.’ As if we only make films for gays and gays don’t drink beer.”
Defurne also stated, “In an ideal world it wouldn’t make a difference. I wish heterosexuals would be just as charmed by my film as gay people were charmed by Titanic. But that’s not reality."
North Sea Texas – Montreal World Film Festival screenings:
Note: All showings at Quartier Latin Cinema Complex (350 Emery Street, corner St-Denis)
  • Sat 21 August – 9:30 p.m., French subtitles
  • Sun 21 August – 12 p.m., English subtitles
  • Mon 22 August – 4:40 p.m., French subtitles
  • Tues 23 August – 2:40 p.m. English subtitles
North Sea Texas official website
North Sea Texas on Facebook
Pim lives in a run-down house in a dead-end street somewhere at the Belgian coast, together with his mother Yvette Bulteel (better known as Yvette Mimosa, local accordion starlet). Life here smells of cold French fries, cheap cigarettes, vermouth and stale beer. Mother Yvette uses her fat Etienne with his lousy grey Fiat as a driver for the nights she has to “perform”.
As a kid Pim dreams of a better life, imagining princesses and beauty queens. But when Pim turns 16 he dreams of Gino, the boy next door, instead. Ever since they were children there has been this tension between them. Now Gino is Pim’s motorcycling hero. Cold mockery, little humiliations and tiny bits of hope make up Pim’s life. No wonder he sometimes flees to his dream world.
Then one day Yvette leaves with young, hunky Zoltan, the boy from the fair. When Yvette leaves her son alone in the empty house, Pim seizes the opportunity and his dreams become half-truths. Pim moves to the neighbours’ house to live with Marcella, his “second mum”. And with Sabrina, Gino’s sister, who circles longingly around Pim. He even sleeps in Gino’s bed! But Gino’s off romancing and living with a girl from across the border. Dreams never come true. Or do they? On a rainy day Gino returns.