“Geraldo” – Dirk Domen

Geraldo is a short film by the Antwerp director Dirk Domen and is selected at the Short Film Festival in Leuven in the Vlaamse Fictie 3-series along with 5 other very good films. I personally liked the fact that Geraldo is shot in black-white, or ‘in the style of Woody Allen’ like Domen himself calls it. This made the film stand out of the rest and adds some extra tristesse to the clown Geraldo.

geraldoAs a professional director of commercials and advertising for AXA Bank, De Morgen, Gazet Van Antwerpen (Belgian newspapers) and many more, this is his first short film I see. Domen managed to cast plenty of professional and talented actors for Geraldo. The title refers to the main character called Gerald, a very uncheerful person, who left his job as an oncologist to become a clown in the national touring circus.

Ben Segers plays the part of Geraldo, which was a relief to see he could also perform in more serious parts. On screen he more or less gets typecasted for the doofy roles, but when you have seen him on stage in the theatres, you would ‘ve already known he has so much more to offer.

Marie Vinck (Loft, 2008) plays the busty make-up assistant of the circus, and in my opinion she keeps on repeating herself, because her entire carreer she always seems to play the femme fatal in plenty of sexscenes. This time once again. Stefaan Degand (also in this year’s Niemendal) plays the role of the cynical and grumpy circusowner. We also see Ludo Hoogmartens (Groenten uit Balen, 2011) as Geraldo’s highly religious but hypocrit father and the very talented Katelijne Verbeke (Zot van A, 2010) as Geraldo’s mother, who also supported her husband in disadvantage of her own son by stating that ‘The Bible says that a wife should obey her husband’. She uses the Bible as an excuse for her past living in denial. Religion and hypocrisy become seriously intertwined in this short film.

The film frequently uses flash-backs to go back to Gerald’s (the clown’s real name) childhood, but the reality is many years later and his father is dying. The only thing that seems to matter to Gerald though is detaching from the man he despises and starting over again in the circus.

What attracted me the most in Geraldo is not only the choice of making a black-white film, but also the beautiful symmetry and balanced images. Domen’s mise-en-scène is flawless.

Check the site for more information and a trailer.

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