Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WASTE LAND: Director Profile of Pieter Van Hees

Flemish genre movies are somewhat uncommon, but Pieter Van Hees joined the ranks in 2008 with his feature Left Bank (Linkeroever) a witchy tale about an archer who finds out her boyfriend's apartment complex was built on a pagan burial site, including a sacrifical pit called "The Devil's Vagina." (I'm not making this up.) Left Bank is a moody, creepy slow build of a movie, which evokes a lot of unanswered questions throught its body horror and scary imagery. Van Hees has stated that his generation is "influenced by Flemish theater" in which case, we should all probably find out more about Flemish theater.
The Devil's WHAT?!
Comparisons to Nicolas Roeg and Roman Polanski would make any director feel overwhelmed, but Van Hees did not let that deter him In 2009, he directed Dirty Mind, which screened at the Karlovy Vary Festival in the Czech Republic. In this film, shy outcast and stunt technician Diego suffers a brain injury that leaves him with something called Frontal Lobe Syndrome. Although the doctors want to reverse his condition, Diego isn't interested as the accident has transformed him into the fearless, glib, womanizer he always wanted to be.

Tony T works his magic on the ladies.
Now Van Hees has a new film at the Toronto International Film Festival's Vanguard programme. Waste Land is the third movie in a trilogy about "love and suffering." He says that it's "loosely based" on the T.S. Eliot poem of the same name, but transported from London to modern Brussels. In Waste Land, homicide detective Leo Woeste leads a gritty, grimy life investigating crimes in the criminal underworld but shares his personal life with his partner Kathleen and her young son. At the same time Kathleen discovers her pregnancy, Woeste is tasked with a bizarre murder case and finds himself being drawn into a sinister subculture.
You'd be glum, too, if you just missed the last bus.
If this twist on film noir, intrigues you (and it should), it's probably best to check out a screening of Waste Land.

WASTE LAND screening times:
Sat., Sept. 6th, 9:30 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Mon., Sept. 8th, 4:30 PM, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2
Sat., Sept. 13th, 6:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

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