“Home” – Fien Troch

On October 16th, the Belgian premiere of Fien Troch’s drama Home took place at Film Fest Gent, in which it partakes in the official competition. Home already won the award for Best Director at Venice Film Festival and was screened at Toronto International Film Festival in September. Edited by her own husband and co-screenwriter Nico Leunen (Belgium’s most renown editor for p.e. Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, 2014, and Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, 2012). The film is produced by Antonino Lombardo (also produced Fien Troch’s last feature film Kid, 2012).

Photo credit: Jerroen Willems

Home tells the story about a group of youngsters in secondary school, whose private matters get intertwined once Kevin (Sebastian Van Dun), the cousin of Sammy (Loïc Bellemans) gets back from juvenile prison. Although Kevin builds up a new life, working at his ‘uncle’ Willem’s (Robbie Cleiren) company as a plumber, things get out of hand very soon. It seems as if Kevin is the cause of everything, because he is stigmatised by his criminal past, but a clever audience realises that he only does what is best for him and his friends. Kevin becomes very close with John (Mistral Guidotti). Will their friendship and loyalty stand the test, when fate strikes?

Fien Troch can rely on a strong cast built of very experienced Flemish actors known from both television and cinema like Jeroen Perceval, Kevin Janssens, Nabil Mallat and the wonderful Karlijn Sileghem. Nonetheless, it are the young adults who steal the show with their very touching, yet modest performances. To me, Sebastian Van Dun now already is the male Marta Canga Antonio (award-winning leading lady in El Arbi and Fallah’s Black, 2015). You cannot but identify with them and how they behave in their puberty, pushing off the authority of their parents, experimenting with alcohol, sex and drugs, and trying to fit in. I could really recognise myself in Sammy, Kevin, Lina (Lena Suijkerbuijk) and the others. First, when I heard Sammy scolding his mom, I considered him unreasonable and rude, but when I look back at my puberty, I guess I wasn’t always that nice to my parents as well. Also, the partying as if there’s no tomorrow is something we are all guilty of, while those kids in Home use their companionship and time together as a get-away and in some cases a way out of true dark sorrows. Their search for identity and solidarity is comparable to the teens in Larry Clark’s drama Kids (1996). This film sketches different definitions of the word “home”, by showing the audience how the kids clash with the elder generation and their authority.home_vafnews_03

A significant element throughout the film is the rather up-tempo, thumping soundtrack composed by Johnny Jewel from Chromatics. Troch states that she was inspired by the music in Refn’s Drive (2010). Further on, Home is a visual model for Flemish realism, because different scenes or sequences are filmed like a mockumentary, where professional visuals alternate with amateur smartphone videos made by the youngsters themselves.

The film resembles a classic Greek tragedy ending with a typical catharsis, or emotional relieve, for the audience, with the Electra-complex as a dominant theme. I will not spoil the ultimate plot of the film, because you should  go and watch it.

Home is in theatres across Belgium (and hopefully in other countries soon) in January 2017.

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