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BRUSSELS BY NIGHT

Belgium, 1983 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Marc Didden

Brussets By Night is an astonishing feature film debut. Max gets up one morning, drinks some milk, fires a gun into his mouth... but the bullet isn't in that chamber. He wanders aimlessly through Brussels, meeting Louis, a retired colleague, and Alice, a young woman who dreams about becoming an actress but who has to settle for a job as a barmaid. They also team up with Abel, a Moroccan tram conductor who has trouble adjusting himself to the Belgian way of life.

This unlikely quartet stays together for a while, travelling through Belgium. They go through simple activities, relationships are formed, also tensions, but the fact that they are all losers keeps them together. And gradually, chillingly, we discover just what an oddball this Max really is. The very simple theme of the film is spiced with intelligence and wit and the racism and cursing of Max, Abel's clumsiness, and Louis' philosophical nonsense all provide some great moments in this very impressive film.

- David Oftermans

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