Review: Cockaigne (2011)


Cockaigne (2011)

Directed by: Emilie Verhamme | 13 minutes | short film | Actors: Oleg Farchteyn, Farch Stasteyn, Oleg Danilov, Beterbek Sedoj, Behzod Bek, Mohammed Ouachen, Laurent Servais

Trapped in the back of a van. The driver stops somewhere in Germany after days of driving, and asks another five hundred euros on top of the thousand you have already paid. You have to give something for a new life in Belgium. That’s what Danilo and his sons thought in the Flemish short film ‘Cockaigne’, but once they arrived, the people turned out not to be so friendly and the income was not that high. The first customer is not too hospitable, but the Ukrainian men have an original answer to this.

The alienating images in the film ‘Cockaigne’ (meaning ‘Lockland’) show the men sitting in nothing but dark for the first few minutes of the film. Transported by coffin, their adventure also seems destined for nothing but misery, but hopes are still high. On arrival in Brussels, the lostness is almost palpable, and the mutual incomprehension of the different cultures is painfully clear. Yet no exaggerated stereotypes or excessive emotions are shown, making it a particularly honest portrait of fortune seekers trying their luck abroad.

‘Cockaigne’ is the final work of young Belgian film student Emilie Verhamme. This film was immediately nominated for the competition of the film festival in Cannes. Unfortunately, she didn’t win, but with a nomination at the most prestigious festival in the world, she has at least a flying start to her film career.

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