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The Crack Magazine



Director: Bas Devos

Stars: Stefan Gota, Liyo Gong, Cedric Luvuezo, Teodor Corban

It may be little over eighty minutes long and barely possess a plot, but Belgian writer-director Bas Devos’s picture contains multitudes. Stefan (Gota) is a quiet Romanian construction worker labouring in Belgium. His down time is spent hanging out and enjoying the camaraderie of workmates and friends, and seeing his sister, a nurse also working in Belgium. Stefan is due to return to Romania for the summer, but seems reluctant to quit, possibly more out of a sense of inertia than an attachment to his adopted home. Visiting a Chinese restaurant for a takeaway, he decides to have his meal there to avoid the torrential rain outside and strikes up a conversation with Chinese-Belgian woman Shuxiu (Gong), a bryologist, who lectures on moss at the university. They meet again when Stefan is out for a walk and comes across her doing field studies in the woods. While low on incident, with one key event taking place off camera, and rendered in long static shots, Devos’s film captivates due to the lovely low-key performances from the leads, while Grimm Vandekerckhove’s cinematography imbues the story with a golden-hour melancholy in the early scenes and a vivid green intensity in the sylvan sequences. Shots of trains and moss elegantly illustrate the twin themes of transience, and the desire to connect and put down roots.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm