SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL GUIT BROTHERS BELGIUM

Mother Schmuckers - review: This is the Newest Style of Belgian Anarchism

Don't worry about Belgian cinema in the future. Here are Guit Brothers.

Robbe De Hert and Patrick Le Bon are dead. But we have Harpo Guit and Lenny Guit aka Guit Brothers!

After I heard the tragic news that Belgian maverick Patrick Le Bon dies on February 3 at the age of 81, I watched Mother Schmuckers, the debut feature of Belgian brothers Harpo and Lenny Guilt, and it will be one of the most explosive highlights in my cinematic life in 2021. This desperately nonsense Belgian comedy is absolutely no other than PRANK itself, starting from sweetly boiled poop and a woman's yellow vomit where what appears is its original French title Fils de plouc. I don't know French (Or I don't want because it's utter shame to speak a language which Albert Serra can speak) but seems blasphemous.

Our heroes are brothers Issachar (Maxi Delmelle) and Zabulon (Harpo Guit), a pair of utter idiots who would be born if you made children in Dardennes Brothers' works zillion times more stupid. While they vagabonds around Brussels to eat something, the brothers lose their mom Cashmere's (Claire Bodson) lovable dog January Jack. Infuriated as hell, Cashmere issues an ultimatum that she will kick them out of her apartment if they can't find Jack. While Cashmere disappears to flee from her work as a prostitute, the brothers must run through the messy chaos of Brussels for Jack.

Mother Schmuckers wields blasphemously kaleidoscopic, sometimes delusionally incoherent techniques. It liberating cinematography by Sylvestre Vannoorenberghe oscillates between kitchen-sink realism and ludicrous prank video on Youtube, while John Waters-like vehement vulgarness is immersed on the silver screen in every minute which makes audiences belch or, well, vomit. But there is also an astute reflection on the daily life of Belgium, which still suffers from its big wound of terrorism, and surprisingly tender look into miserable weirdos (But NO to bestiality!) Mixed with these elements, this film transforms into pubescent nonsense which makes us so delighted that our ass explodes with vulgar laughs.

Watching this bodacious nonsense, I remembered about one Belgian film which I watched long before. Robbe De Hert, one of the most magnificent Belgian directors who dies sadly in 2020, made a coming-of-age film Whitey in 1980, based on Ernest Claes' famous novel De Witte written in 1920. Its protagonist, an 11-year-old boy nicknamed "De Witte", which means its English title, makes explosive pranks to his family and societal authority for surviving his harsh life. I thought that, if this De Witte is twin brothers living in contemporary Belgium, they are Issachar and Zabulon in Mother Schmuckers.

In this sense, this film is the newest Belgian style of resistance against society, the world. But I can't help but use more vigorous definitive words. Mother Schmuckers is the newest style of verdant anarchism from the periphery of Belgium, where its own anarchism progresses in a thrillingly peculiar style. For example, Chantal Akerman's Saute ma ville makes the human body and energy explode literally. Masterful mockumentary Man Bites Dog shows nefarious malice itself rooted deeply in Belgian life with the possibility to change audiences' life drastically. Jaco van Dormael's works like Mr. Nobody or The Brand-New Testament is pure anarchism to authoritative existence. And yeah, aforementioned Patrick Le Bon's Paniekzaaiers shows homor connected to exuberance of ordinary life, even if it's police comedy.

Director duo Guit Brothers shows the perfect direction for this explosive comedy. Interestingly to me, they appear as an actor in Blonde Animals, one of the most anarchic, weirdest French films in the 2010s. Inheriting diverse, iridescent liberations from the cinematic history of this region's anarchism, they made Mother Schmuckers, verdant anarchism in the age of Youtube. Belgium at its most intense, most beautiful (Sorry Bas Devos!)

I hope that Guit Brothers make this verdancy progress to an unprecedented level in film history. And RIP Robbe De Hert and Patrick Le Bon, but please don't worry about the future of Belgian cinema. Here are Guit Brothers. Belgian cinema forever.

© Sundance Film Festival press kit

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