In the city of Brussels, a Romanian construction worker (Stefan Gota) about to leave on vacation, crosses paths with a Belgian-Chinese biologist (Liyo Gong) writing a dissertation on moss. Such is the slender but fruitful starting point for Here, a film so attuned to the rhythms and textures of the everyday that even its characters’ names are an afterthought. Taking us from city to country, from concrete urban locales to lush natural environs, Belgian filmmaker Bas Devos’ fourth feature suggests that the beauty we find here knows no human distinctions.
Winner of the top prize in the Berlinale’s adventurous Encounters section, the film is a sensuous wonder, featuring precise 4:3 tableaux, tactile 16mm photography, compositions reminiscent of Edward Hopper, and the lilting rhythms of a gentle city symphony. Although there are hints of romance between the two leads, Here is less a full-blown drama than a luminous exploration of the visible world, a film about two people united by their mutual delight in their surroundings.
A modestly proportioned movie of quiet magnificence, one that feels spun of gossamer summer light and rooted in unshakeable depths.
Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
Being in the moment has rarely been so exhilarating.
Tim Grierson, Screen International
A cinematic antidote to an era marked by dwindling attention spans and human detachment, offering a poignant reflection on the power of living in the moment.
Martin Kudlac, Screen Anarchy
Stefan Gota, Liyo Gong, Cedric Luvuezo, Teodor Corban, Saadia Bentaïeb
In Dutch, French, Romanian and Chinese with English subtitles
Best Film, FIPRESCI Prize: Encounters, Berlin 2023
Palawan appears to be an idyllic tropical island. Its powder-white beaches and lush forests have made it one of Asia’s hottest new tourist destinations. But for a tiny network of environmental crusaders and vigilantes trying to protect its spectacular natural resources, it is more akin to a battlefield.
Black History Month: Short Film Showcase
The four short films in this program range from humorous dark comedy to sombre drama. These films explore existential crises, beauty standards and daring ambitions in the lives of the protagonists.