(Belgium 2018; Dir: Kato De Boeck)

Provence

Summer secrets

review by Ricardo Brunn

Provence

length: 22

year of production: 2018

country of production: Belgium

director: Kato De Boeck

director of photography: Esmoreit Lutters

editing: Lawrence Paul Foley

festivals: 65. Int. Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 12. KUKI Int. Short Film Festival For Children And Youth

© images: Provence (Kato De Boeck)

The flowers are blooming and the bees are humming. During the summer holidays, Camille and her big brother Tuur stroll around a campsite in Provence. In the morning they wade through a river bed under trees gently swaying in the wind, in the afternoon they fool around in the swimming pool and at night they play "Truth or Duty" under the dim light of a flashlight, where it turns out that Tuur not only does not hide any secrets, but supposedly has none at all. Camille immediately suspects that this cannot be true. It gets more complicated when she has to fight for her brother's attention in the next few days when two Dutch girls in pretty bikinis absorb his attention.

In her film, director Kato De Boeck consistently tells the story of her brother's growing up from the point of view of 11-year-old Camille. Helpless, she has to watch Tuur become more interested in the new girls and begins to behave strangely. In an initially carefree holiday Camille becomes the fifth wheel of the car, which suddenly doesn't understand anything anymore, eavesdrops on teenagers in the shower and covers up the brother frustrated with blows. Adults don't show up at any time, so they are not the ordering and explanatory instances for Camille. And so the distance to her beloved brother increases more and more. Is there nothing one can do about this growing up?

At the same time, Camille and Tuur grow closer together than ever. Because of course Tuur has a secret. It's just a completely different story than Camille thought. And Kato De Boeck also lured the audience*inside onto the wrong track with her production. She herself was once Camille and tells in "Provence" about a summer that changed her life. She succeeds in capturing subtle gestures in the airy and sun-drenched images, not understanding childhood and adulthood as opposition or the awakening of youth as a rupture, and making even such a cruelly embarrassing game as "Truth or Dare" an unforgettably beautiful experience.

This review was previously published in German on FilmGazette.de.