Review: Get Born (2008)


Director: Nicole Palo | 72 minutes | drama | Actors: Pierre Lognay, Fleur Lise Heuet, Eric Castex, Fabrice Murgia, Patrick Spadrille, Philippe Delsemme, Alain Leempoel, Maaike Neuville, Cecile Brohez

Nicely made, small film by the Belgian director Nicole Palo in which loneliness and the search for love are central. It becomes clear in the course of 1 hour and 10 minutes that it is not all that simple. Although not too much happens, “Get Born” still keeps the attention because of the natural play of the cast.

Grégory (Pierre Lognay) is a phlegmatic young student who revels in his love for fellow student Liv (Fleur Lise Heuet) and spends his days looking at her, daydreaming and hanging out with his friends. Liv in turn experiences love for the first time and is completely absorbed in the older Russian Ilia (Eric Castex), who has a military background. She doesn’t realize he’s not treating her right at all and only finds out late that her life isn’t as rosy as she imagined.

Palo knows how to beautifully portray the contrast between Grégory and Liv. Grégory’s swoon might suit an adolescent teenager even better, but because he is still a virtually blank slate, it remains credible. Pierre Lognay portrays the role in a sensitive way, so that Grégory always remains sympathetic, although his inertia would sometimes make you impatient. The first time we see him, he’s standing on top of a university building and seems to be considering jumping off. It is clear that he is confused: his student room is a mess, he loses himself for hours making drawings and staring at Liv during lectures and workgroups, without really getting in touch with her.

Liv herself is also blinded, but then because of the intense love for Ilia, who lets her take the first steps in love. After she has deflowered by him, her feelings only become stronger, while – partly due to other circumstances – he increasingly loses interest in her.

Palo also wrote the screenplay herself and, with her direction, keeps a close eye on the daily worries of Grégory and Liv. The cloudy Brussels where the film is set is a suitable backdrop, because the streets and buildings are often gray and dingy.

Both Lognay and Heuet play their roles with conviction. As a viewer, you want to give Lognays Grégory a big kick in the ass a number of times to get him fired up. That is also a bit of the flaw of the film: not too much happens. Both protagonists – and the not too long playing time – ensure that it does not get boring, but some impatience creeps up here and there. You also wonder whether the two would really fit together if they come together. A superfluous question perhaps, because “Get Born” is anything but a romantic comedy, in which two people are destined to move on together. It is Heuet who delivers the best interpretation. In particular, a crucial telephone conversation that Heuet conducts, in which only her side of the conversation is shown, is strongly acted and beautifully filmed.

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