A Pure Place (2021)

A Pure Place
Director: Nikias Chryssos
Writer: Nikias Chryssos, Lars Henning Jung
Cast: Sam Louwyck, Greta Bohacek, Claude Heinrich, Daniel Sträßer, Daniel Fripan, Wolfgang Czeczor, Lena Lauzemis, Mariella Josephine Aumann
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2021
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Content Note: (critical treatment of) white supremacy, fascism and cults

Plot:
When they were very small, Irina (Greta Bohacek) and her brother Paul (Claude Heinrich) came into the care of soap producer Fust (Sam Louwyck). That means, they started working in his factory and learned to revere him like a god, always hoping to be pretty and clean enough to make it from below (the factory) to above (his mansion). And it seems that Irina finally gets her chance at a turn in the light when Fust grows tired of one of his followers. Only that this means that Irina has to leave Paul behind.

A Pure Place starts off well enough, with building up the whole setting as a thinly veiled allegory for white supremacy. But then it gets lost in its own story, seems to turn in circles and never reaches a satisfying conclusion. Plus, there were some really problematic elements with regards to Irina and the male gaze that ruined the film for me a little.

The film poster, drawn comic-style, showing Irina (Greta Bohacek) as a greek statue with a snake and a goblet. Behind her we can see Fust (Sam Louwyck), his arms spread wide and his congregation with soap around their necks, some wearing hooded robes. In front of Irina we can see Siegfried (Daniel Sträßer) self-flagellating.
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Jumbo (2020)

Jumbo
Director: Zoé Wittock
Writer: Zoé Wittock
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Emmanuelle Bercot, Bastien Bouillon, Sam Louwyck, Tracy Dossou
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2020
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Content Note: (critical treatment of) ableism, cripping up (debatable)

Plot:
Jeanne (Noémie Merlant) divides her time between her home where she lives with her mother Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot), and the amusement park where she works. She loves carousels, ferris wheels and the other attractions in the park and she loves building models of them. This year, the park bought a new ride and Jeanne feels incredibly drawn to it. She nicknames it Jumbo – and Jumbo even starts to communicate with her. Soon their relationship becomes even more intense.

Jumbo is one of the sweetest, most romantic films I’ve seen in a long while (well, together with Dinner in America) and I’m here for this trend of unusual love stories being where the romance lives. Jumbo is well done in any case and hit me right in the feels.

The film poster showing a woman's face in profile, the back of her head a ferris wheel.
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Les garçons sauvages [The Wild Boys] (2017)

Les garçons sauvages
Director: Bertrand Mandico
Writer: Bertrand Mandico
Cast: Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Anaël Snoek, Mathilde Warnier, Sam Louwyck, Elina Löwensohn, Nathalie Richard
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 3.5.2018

Content Note: Rape, transmisia

Plot:
Romuald (Pauline Lorillard), Jean-Louis (Vimala Pons), Hubert (Diane Rouxel), Tanguy (Anaël Snoek) and Sloane (Mathilde Warnier) are friends, all interested in arts and aestheticism in general. But after raping and killing their literature teacher (Nathalie Richard), they are put in the care of the Captain (Sam Louwyck) in the hope that his rough methods will set them on the right path again. They embark on a journey on the Captain’s ship to an island where transformation is supposedto happen.

The Wild Boys was interesting, but didn’t work in all respects for me. Still, it’s a film that looks at gender and has an interesting visual style, so I would say that it’s worth checking out regardless.

SPOILERS after the jump.

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