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.
Bas Devos was born in Zoersel, Belgium. Devos’ debut feature, Violet (2014), won the Jury Prize at Berlinale Generations and was selected for New Directors/New Films festival at MoMa, New York. His second feature, Hellhole (2019) was selected for Berlinale Panorama. His third feature, Ghost Tropic (2019), premiered only three months later at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at Cannes. Here (2023) is his fourth feature film. Devos is an alumni and professor of film at Luca School of Arts in Brussels.
Filmography: Violet (2014); Hellhole (2019); Ghost Tropic (2019)
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Following a construction worker and a Belgian-Chinese biologist writing a dissertation on moss, this is a sensuous wonder and a luminous exploration of the visible world. A film about two strangers united by their mutual delight in their surroundings.
If Only I Could Hibernate
In the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, a story unfolds of perseverance under a truly daunting predicament. A teen with a gift for physics enters a national competition, struggling to make ends meet while pushing to succeed against all odds.
Only the River Flows
Wei Shujun's unpredictable neo-noir pits a detective against a serial killer terrorizing a small hamlet. The cop is not only trying to outwit the murderer, but must also deal with uncooperative villagers, inept colleagues, and his own unraveling mind.
After the death of his mentor a professor of philosophy finds his professional standing is in jeopardy, and his own students are threatening to revolt. What use Rousseau, Hobbes et al when his life is spiraling out of control?
Kanae is reopening the bathhouse she shut down when her husband Satoru vanished without a trace. As someone shows up looking for work, an uneasy companionship forms, causing Kanae to handle two burdens, her lost husband and a secret she dare not reveal.
Let the River Flow
Ester, a young Sami woman, tries to conceal her ethnicity to avoid ostracism in 1970s Norway without betraying her family roots. Struggling to navigate her shifting cultural identity, she protests a local dam with Sami activists.
Set in a small village on the India/Bhutan border, this story depicts a group of women who live alongside and ultimately support each other. Wild Swans shares a glimpse into a culture and community that is rarely seen in cinema.
There's No Place Like Home
Estranged from her controlling parents, after coming out as a lesbian, Leonora learns of her mother's terminal cancer in an interview on live TV. When visiting her family in hospice, memory and reality begin to blur into a surreal nightmare.
Housekeeping for Beginners
She never wanted to be a mom, but fate presents Dita (Anamaria Marinca) with her girlfriend's two daughters to raise -- a recipe for chaos, laughter and heartache, all jumbled up together.
Laetitia Colombani's assured, involving adaptation of her own best-selling novel weaves together three stories of female perseverance across three continents, in India, Italy, and Canada. This is a strongly acted movie with a big emotional pay-off.
In German-occupied Poland, a young woman, Irene Gut Opdyke (Sophie Nélisse) risks her life by hiding 12 Jews in the cellar of a villa where she serves as housekeeper for a Werhmacht officer. But one day, he discovers the truth... Based on a true story.
Living a solitary existence in Manhattan, Dog is tired of being alone, and builds his own friend: Robot. Their friendship blooms while exploring 1980s New York. This enchanting 2D animation brims with love, loss, and friendship.
A Tour Guide
The tribulations of adapting to a new place are explored with freshness and sympathy in this film about a defector from North Korea struggling to make a better life for herself in Seoul. A gentle, low-key movie with a touching performance from Sul Lee.
In this unsettling and enthralling drama from the director of Nadia, Butterfly, Kelly-Anne (Juliette Gariépy) becomes obsessed with the trial of Ludwig Chevalier (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos), a loner accused of the torture and murder of three teenage girls.
The Oceans Are the Real Continents
Set in San Antonio De Los Baños, a sleepy town in inland Cuba, and shot in langurous black and white tableaux, The Oceans Are the Real Continents traces the stories of three generations of townspeople. "An exquisite love poem to Cuba." The Film Verdict.
Inside an unfinished apartment tower in Tblisi, Georgia, a legendary drag queen and teenage drifter live in purgatorial languor. Are they still inhabiting this plane of existence? A poetic fable that conjures a legitimately dreamlike milieu.
Tsugaru Lacquer Girl
Lacquerwork kitchenware is the Aoki family's legacy. When Seishiro wants to hand it down to his son Yu, he is faced with conflict, as his daughter Miyako cares far more for the craft, pushing a collision of gender politics and traditional domestic roles.
Leading up to South Sudan’s secession, a retired singer is wracked with guilt from her connection to a murder. To make amends, she hires the new widow as her maid. This artfully composed drama weaves friendship, deceit, and awakening to inequities.
Suellen, an unhappy toll booth attendant, prays everyday at a cliff-side shrine for one thing: that her teenage son will be “cured” of homosexuality. In order to pay for conversion therapy, she helps her boyfriend steal wristwatches from wealthy motorists.
One Day All This Will Be Yours
Lisa is lured to a rare gathering with her parents and two siblings at the family's forest home. The purpose is to decide which child may inherit the vast land and take over the family business. A sensitive and funny portrayal of a dysfunctional family.
In Broad Daylight
In a powerful film based on actual events, a hard-bitten journalist investigates abuse in a Hong Kong care home. The film sidesteps no hard hitting questions, neglects cop-outs or easy answers, and offers a resounding moral challenge to us all.
In Cairo, a lonesome property guard tends to a run-down villa long-since vacated by its affluent owners. His peaceful little world is overturned when an ex-convict occupies the property, forcing the old man to confront his sorrows.
Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry
Etero, a 48-year-old woman living in a small village in Georgia, never wanted a husband. She cherishes her freedom as much as her cakes. But her choice to live alone is the cause of much gossip. Unexpectedly, she finds herself falling in love.
In this nihilistic Chilean south western, notorious cattle rancher Menéndez dispatches a trio of hired guns (a Brit, an American cowboy and a local mestizo) to scout and scourge Tierra del Fuego. A searing critique of white supremacist foundational myths.
How do you want to be remembered after death? All Ears tackles this heavy subject with a lightness of touch and sense of humor. A failed scriptwriter leverages his knowledge of storytelling into a job writing obituaries.
In this riveting revenge thriller, winner of the Grand Jury Award at SXSW, Joy, an undocumented Filipino woman becomes a housekeeper for a terminally ill British aristocrat in his secluded home. But all is not what it seems...
The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed
A mid-thirties Jewish woman with an interest in BDSM struggles to maintain casual relationships with various “masters.” Witty, wry, and sexually frank, this off-kilter comedy finds humour in the absurd ways that our bodies move through the world.
Days of Happiness
Emma, a gifted young orchestra conductor is at a crossroads. Audiences are enraptured by her work, however, her career is steered by her controlling father, who’s also her agent. She also has a secret relationship. Tensions build, swell, crescendo....
Measures of Men
Germany's historical bigotry against Africans, and its servitude toward legitimizing mass slaughter is documented in this historical drama. Set in turn-of the century Berlin, demonstrating what has been called the 20th century's first genocide.