Saturday, April 06, 2013

Sweetheart Come (2012)

Luxembourg is very much into documentaries lately. Hamilius, a docu on hip hop and graffiti culture largely filmed in the very center of the city, hence the name on 2010 made quite a sensation. On 2011 the big hit was a documentary on  life in the countryside, featuring lovely cows in its poster, De Bauerblues, and rating first in the box office between the Luxembourgish productions and co-productions -even if High/Low got the prize for best docu on Luxemburgish Film Prize. 2012 saw even more documentary productions, among others the most famed   and productive local director Andy Sleck's D'Belle Epoque starring the beautiful Vicky Krieps, Cello Tales by Anne Schiltz and Sweetheart Come, which particularly caught my attention. I don't know which one will be the hit in the box-office and on Letzebuerg Filmpreis this season,  but I doubt it will be this one. Sweetheart come, is a beautiful piece of cinematography, but definitely not tailored-made for the conservative little audience of the Grand Duchy. 

The courageous "sexumentary", as it's referred to by its marketeers, directed by Jacques Molitor (once the cut head being fed gummy bears during one of the Filmreakter's double bill nights, the most anti-comformist cinema event probably ever existed in the area) premiered in this year's Discovery Zone Film Festival and opened theatrically a week or so ago. 

Yesterday, I had the chance to attend a special screening, where a round table was organised after the end of the film. The screening was this time at Utopolis (even if the film is showing at Utopia, like all  proper art-house stuff) and as much as I enjoyed the film, I have to admit I felt quite disappointed to realise that there was no translation for us, poor foreigners. Everyone was speaking Luxemburgish, analysing how it feels to be "different" in Luxembourg, how people that are different in many ways -sexual orientation, disability etc.- are treated and the like (or, at least, I suppose they were saying something along these lines, cause I really could not understand the language, neither the friends I had convinced to come along) and that, mind me, was the hell of an exclusion.

Well, that being said, the film was beautifully shot and edited -having a perfect sense of rhythm and never allowing any boredom to intrude- and the research on the secret sexual life of a place that looks so calm and uninteresting actually amazed me. I could never imagine how rich a place like this could be, under its veil of conservatism. 

The director's sensitivity was evident even the more during the sequences dealing with a disabled couple (these moments were really an ode to life; who could tell that some people have such a huge amount of strength and perseverance in them) and with the eldest. All in all, it was a moving collage of stories and images, with an acute sense of contrast, discreetness and a film-noir touch here and there. The two musical intermissions were also pleasant -it was good to see Serge Tonnar, he has such an amusing artistic quality- and it was also interesting to follow Luxemburgish roads, as one would  traverse the paths of human desire and cross borders of everyday banality and normative image that we  sometimes create for ourselves.

The young priest and his convictions were a bit shocking, I have to admit, but, oh, well, we live in a free country. Then again, living in a free country, Mr Molitor has every right to express some narcissism, having his half-naked body gazing melancholically out of the frame in the beginning and at the end of the film, but that was not relevant or needed, in my opinion.

An interesting, daring and aesthetically appealing documentary on the whole; I was pleasantly surprised. Congrats and keep up the good work, guys.

* When it comes to the local audiovisual production in Luxembourg, and the documentaries in particular, a comprehensive database of the local production can be found in the CNA - Centre National Audiovisuel website.

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