Movies about friendship always fascinate me. Growing up, even though I was a shy child, the intense loneliness inside me made me always seek out friends and intense friendship. So I quickly understood the nature of the friendship between Léo and Rémi. Because the movie is essentially split in two parts where the latter part is about a loss of a friend, it had to use its first half effectively to show the intimate friendship between the two boys. It didn’t spend an ample amount of time doing that but when it did, it took time and showed the exuding emotion of the boys through their small gestures and how they looked at each other.
Speaking of that, this movie is truly about deep, intense, emphatic, and long gazes. The movie doesn’t even have many dialogues, and thanks to that when the characters actually speak up, it is so powerful and effective. Almost stationary and calm camera moves let us take our own time to look at the characters in depth too, and understand their emotion from their bodies and eyes.
There are so many things to praise but it wasn’t a perfect movie. Sometimes I felt like the director wasn’t shy at all about putting a lot of symbols throughout the movie, like flowers torn by trucks in the field, and such. Even though it was believable, the final interaction between Rémi’s mom and Léo and the following resolution seemed a bit too easy escape for Léo. We saw that Léo suffered and grieved a lot throughout the second part, but I still questioned whether that could still justify Léo’s healing and moving on.
Nevertheless, I still think this movie is exceptional. I saw it at Austin Film Society where a chat with the director Lukas Dhont followed. He was funny, honest, and thoughtful. It was one of those moments when I felt grateful that I’ve got to live in an era with a contemporary artist like him. I look forward to his future films.