Dir: Vincent Lannoo
Star: Carlo Ferrante, Vera Van Dooren, Pierre Lognay, Fleur Lise Heuet

With more than an echo of Man Bites Dog, in this Belgian pseudo-documentary which sends a film crew where no film crew was meant to go. In this case, to follow the lives of a family of four vampires, led by Georges (Ferrante); there's also Bertha (Van Dooren), his wife of questionable sanity, their rebellious daughter Grace (Heuet), who dresses in pink, and son Samson (Lognay). After a couple of unfortunately fatal false starts, crew #3 survives their first encounter, and gets to document the everyday life of these mythical creatures. Which is, to be honest, mostly fairly prosaic: the film's tagline "Not scary. Not sexy. Not trendy. Just Belgian" is generally accurate. Despite their apparent fondness for cameramen, they really don't go out hunting, having their "meat", as they call her, in the shape of a prostitute who is happy to let them suck on her veins in a non-lethal fashion. They even had 'lodgers' in the baseement - vampire protocol precludes childless couples from having a home of their own, ans they're treatd like dirt by Georges.

The film has some interesting ideas, such as that a vampire can, more or less, return to being human through sheer force of will, or the concept of schools that teach correct biting procedure. I also loved the idea that they get illegal immigrants delivered to them by the police, an arrangement that suits both parties. The problem is, these ideas are underused by a storyline which doesn't go anywhere. Except to Montreal, where the family are exiled for a few months. Nothing much happens there, and they return to Belgium. Even the sicker elements, such as the 'livestock' pen in the back-yard, are simply presented, not integrated into any meaningful or interesting story - as a result, I'd forgotten most of them, until reading a synopsis just now. Never mind Belgian, thre's another B-word which does a better job of summing up these vampires. If "boring" might be a stretch, I'd certainly describe them as "banal".

[January 2012]

Man Bites Man
See also... [Index] [Next] [Previous] [TC Home Page]