Review: Wild mussels (2000)

Director: Erik de Bruyn | 115 minutes | drama | Actors: Fedja van Huêt, Frank Lammers, Freek Brom, Will van Kralingen, Josse Pauw, Angelique de Bruijne, Martin Dunne, Melek Karasu, Hans Veerman, Mariana de Graaf

At café t Oekje, three friends lean against the windowsill where they talk and enjoy the Brommertreffen in Ostend. The chalkboard clearly states: No bingo today. Erik de Bruyn couldn’t have come up with a better opening scene for his potato western, as he calls his feature debut. It instantly typifies life in the countryside. Here you have to make life yourself, otherwise nothing will happen. This raw truth is reinforced by the lack of bright colors. All scenes have a faded haze over them. But the three friends always come up with something to do. Because a lot is happening in the meantime.

Leen (Fedja van Huêt) in particular brings life to the brewery. He goes for the bigger challenges with which he often risks his own life. He meets a stranded Irishman on the side of the road. The man gives him the dream of a life as a garage owner in Dublin. Leen sees it all for himself and the dream will determine his entire life. He really wants to go to Dublin, but the one who stops him the most is himself. The title “Wild Mussels” is a great metaphor for what the film shows.

The adolescent silliness and the dry Zeeland accent provide the funny undertone in this film. Dutch may also not lend itself as well as fast language; It is more like the potato in the western. A beautiful scene in which this becomes clear is when Jacob and Daan think about the lyrics for a new song. They play together in a hard rock band, for which they write their own music and lyrics. Jacob (Freek Brom) comes with an English text: “Her long red hair, made my hands itch with despair.” Daan (Frank Lammers) then translates this into Dutch as: “She had long red hair, I saw it and came.”

The play in the film is very convincing, especially because it is as rough as the story. Van Huêt beautifully portrays a rebellious adolescent who has not grown up under the most normal circumstances. The information that trickles down between the scenes and between the lines makes the situation tangible and gives it a strong personal charge. The story is universal, but the mussels and humor give the film a typical Zeeland / Dutch touch. And that has added value. “Wild Mussels” is a movie that is definitely worth watching.

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