Saturday, February 07, 2009

Flemish realism (but where were the pastries?)

Jo and I just got back from seeing "Moscow, Belgium," playing at a tiny theater on 12th Street with seats so crammed together no one much taller than I am (which is to say, no Belgians) could be seated comfortably. Since the film seemed to attract very elderly New Yorkers, this was not much of a problem for most of the audience. Thanks to my stature; a student discount off already lower-than-average movie prices; and the unpopularity of artificial-butter popcorn among the art-film-preferring 90-plus set, I was, for once, quite comfortable.

The movie itself was most excellent, both as a portrait of life in Flanders (complete with beef stew and fries! no Wallonia, this) and as an almost painfully realistic portrait of relationships involving indecisive men. (I'm guessing more realistic than some other contenders, if realistic is your thing.) Further realism: said indecisive man is played by actor Johan Heldenbergh, who is not only the most Belgian-looking man in the history of Belgian-looking men, but apparently grew up in the bleak-but-gloriously-stew-filled apartment building where the movie was filmed.

3 comments:

Petey said...

"Jo and I just got back from seeing "Moscow, Belgium," playing at a tiny theater on 12th Street with seats so crammed together no one much taller than I am (which is to say, no Belgians) could be seated comfortably"

Cinema Village is a great theater, even if the seats aren't sized for obese Americans.

"Since the film seemed to attract very elderly New Yorkers"

The way foreign language films can't attract an American audience under 50 is a massive problem in the current era of film distribution.

If you read histories about the film scene from the 70's, foreign films drew an almost exclusively under-25 audience.

Insert comment here about the demise of American culture and society.

I absolutely adore Catherine Breillat movies, but I'm always a bit freaked out to see my fellow theatergoers at such movies are all senior citizens. They're movies for kids.

Phoebe said...

"Cinema Village is a great theater, even if the seats aren't sized for obese Americans."

What relevance does this have to my comment? The seats seemed plenty wide, they were just flush up against the seats in front and behind. Belgians are not typically obese, but tall.

Petey said...

"What relevance does this have to my comment?"

Blog comments tend to be tangential to the post at hand, rather than actually being relevant, no?

"they were just flush up against the seats in front and behind."

I believe the phrase you were searching for is, "It was an intimate theater-going experience."