VRT Canvas, Wednesday November 15, 11 p.m
DRAMA Long-playing debut by Mati Diop, a French filmmaker with Senegalese roots. Given her background, it is no great surprise that she chooses the fate of the oppressed classes in Senegalese society as her subject. What is surprising is that ‘Atlantique’ did not become a naturalistic film, but an imaginative drama with room for spirituality and surrealism. The story revolves around Ada, a young woman in Dakar, who is about to marry the wealthy Omar while she is actually in love with the construction worker Souleiman. When he receives no wages for his work on the construction site of a megalomaniac skyscraper for weeks at a time, he considers making the dangerous crossing to Spain in a rickety boat. The plot was invented by the brothers Dardenne can come, but the style is more seductive. Whether you will be able – or want – to join the magical-realistic universe of this film is another question, but ‘Atlantique’ definitely has its own face. Any film that dares to deviate so much from the beaten path deserves admiration.
‘The Sixth Sense’ ★★★★☆
VTM 3, Friday November 10, 10:35 PM
THRILLER Breakthrough film by M. Night Shyamalanwith a strikingly subdued Bruce Willis as a psychologist who tries to help a tormented boy. The plot twist is now well known, but the film actually works even better if you already know what it’s like from the start.
NPO 2, Friday November 10, 0.04
DRAMA Social drama about a 12-year-old Lebanese boy who runs away from home after his sister is married off. He ends up with an Ethiopian refugee and her toddler. Compelling, often painful and supported by an impressive performance by the young Syrian refugee Zain Al Rafeea.
‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ ★★★★½
BBC 2, Friday 10 November, 0.05
FANTASY Perhaps Guillermo del Toro‘s best film: a disruptive fairy tale for adults about a young girl who flees into a magical world in 1944 Spain to escape her fascist stepfather. Visually ravishing, thematically layered and daringly dark. A masterpiece.
‘Red Sparrow’ ★★★☆☆
VTM 3, Saturday November 11, 8:35 PM
WAR Jennifer Lawrence shook off the shadow of ‘The Hunger Games’ with this hard, violent Cold War thriller. She plays a Russian ballerina who is recruited as a spy, but she constantly fears that her own government will betray her. Matthias Schoenaerts plays an important supporting role.
‘The Conversation’ ★★★★★
BBC 2, Monday 13 November, 0.15
THRILLER It played between the first two ‘Godfathers’ Coppola this small-scale thriller, with Gene Hackman as an eavesdropping specialist who – perhaps – gets involved in a murder plot. A product of the paranoid Nixonera, brilliantly directed and acted, with an obsessive atmosphere that doesn’t let up for a second.
‘Total Recall’ ★★★½☆
VTM 4, Tuesday November 14, 8:35 PM
ACTION SF action film Paul Verhoevenof Arnold Schwarzenegger as a simple worker who finds out that his real identity has been stolen. Unashamedly vulgar and violent: Schwarzie using a corpse as a shield! A mutant woman with three breasts! Good stuff!
‘First Man’ ★★★★☆
VTM 4, Wednesday November 15, 8:35 PM
BIOPIC Subdued biopic about Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), the first man on the moon. Director Damien Chazelle paints its main character as an emotional wreck who, after the death of his daughter, sees no other option than to bottle up his feelings and move on. Understated, intelligent time document.
‘The Killer’ ★★★½☆
THRILLER A new David FincherWe can only call that happy news. A methodical, sometimes very exciting thriller with… Michael Fassbender as a hitman. Fincher portrays the killer’s working methods in an understated manner, with a strong mise-en-scene and an impeccable sense of pace.
‘The Courier’ ★★★☆☆
DRAMA Benedict Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne, a businessman who frequently traveled behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War and was recruited by MI6 as a spy. A very classically structured, but always entertaining story, which above all testifies to an enormous amount of craftsmanship.
‘Ladri di Biciclette’ ★★★★★
DRAMA This neorealist Italian drama by Vittorio de Sica from 1948 is one of the masterpieces of world cinema. The story is childishly simple: an unemployed man and his son search half of Rome in search of his stolen bicycle. This moving film has earned its reputation.
‘The Northman’ ★★★★☆
ADVENTURE Returns after ‘The Witch’ and ‘The Lighthouse’ Robert Eggers returns with this brutal Viking epic, which feels like a surreal fever dream. The story is based on the legend of Amleth, about a Viking who wants to avenge the death of his father. Shakespeare is of course not far away. A crazy trip that you should not miss.