Review: Resurrection (2017)


Resurrection (2017)

Directed by: Kristof Hoornaert | 110 minutes | drama | Actors: Johan Leysen, Gilles De Schryver, Kris Cuppens, Thomas Ryckewaert

‘Resurrection’ begins with two powerful, wordless scenes: a plume of smoke at a high-rise block turns out to be after a turn of the camera from an exploded bus whose passengers are scattered on the street. In scene two, a fight between two young men in a forest is visually depicted. Afterwards you can hear birds chirping and the sun breaks through. They are naturalistic scenes, with the overarching theme: random violence.

The context follows gradually, and the viewer has to make an effort. Because words are scarce in ‘Resurrection’. It is a masterpiece for director Kris Hoornaert, who certainly does not let sound be inferior to image. His people moan, shiver, pant; dogs bark suddenly; branches crackle just as loudly. What you hear in everyday reality when you are shocked, maybe a little tired.

Hoornaert paints with sound and image, and with control, because his images gently penetrate the mind, where the sounds penetrate. Are you still following it? Anyway, let yourself be overwhelmed by the plot-poor ‘Resurrection’. The film intrigues in every shot, without wanting to impress.

When the nameless character of Johan Leysen, drawn over the years, appears on the scene, the ADHD-like sound symphony of ‘Resurrection’ seems to calm down. This is what film can do, although we still know little more than that the winner of the brawl (Gilles de Schryver) appears half-naked and panicked at Leysen’s remote farm and is allowed to take shelter.

In the austere home of the hermit, every sound is twice as loud, if only because of the loneliness, and the silence of the lodger. Leysen’s imposing face betrays compassion and mistrust at the same time. What’s going to happen here? And what has gone before? Hoornaert does not want to answer too much, but drips meaning and expectation.

Were lives lost here, or are lives being gained? Just fill in yourself. The film loses its dynamic character on the farm and becomes theatrical and slow, clearly referring to Bruno Dumont. ‘Resurrection’ therefore does not fully meet the expectations of the Flemish original, but the uneasy father-son relationship continues to fascinate and the cinematographic quality of this work is beyond question.

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