Wednesday, February 27th, 2013


The wonderful opening sequence of 6 year old Pim dressing up in his mother’s old beauty pageant sash and tiara and posing in front of the mirror sets the scene for a delightful coming-of-age story that combines all the angst with a great deal of humor and charm.

Set in a tiny Belgium coastal town in the 1970’s, young Pim lives alone with his plump fun-seeking restless mother who thinks nothing of leaving him on his own with just a jam sandwich for his dinner whilst she spends her nights in the local bar with her accordion and her latest beau.  By the time he is 14 he is spending more time at a neighbor’s house than at home.  The attraction is not just the mother of the house who feeds and comforts him, but her floppy haired 17 year old son Gino who Pim has developed an almighty crush on.

One night when Pim gets to sleep over he finds the feelings are mutual and the two boys start having secret trysts whenever than can sneak away.  The trouble is once Gino is 18 and he gets a motorbike it means his world opens up, and he ends up forsaking Pim to go to the next big town and getting himself entangled with a girlfriend.

Broken hearted Pim, something of a loner at the best of times, withdraws even more into his usual shell and then he gets totally freaked out when Gino’s younger sister Sabrina comes on to him.  And even the arrival of Zoltan a handsome new male lodger back at home doesn’t distract him enough, especially when it’s his mother that ends up in his bed, and not him.  When his mother ends up running off with Zoltan, a desolate Pim packs up and moves in to live with Sabrina and her mother …..Gino has also left home by now.
But all is not lost, as this captivating story about an adolescent with his innate inability to verbalise any of his emotions, has a surprisingly happy ending. 

Its the first feature length movie from Belgian filmmaker Bavo Defurne which he  adapted from a novel by André Sollie. Stunningly photographed in almost faded light that evokes such a great period feel to the piece.  M. Defurne cast it well, especially the two young unknown actors who played the leads so convincingly ….. and I also really liked Eva van der Gucht as the blowzy mother who loved to lounge on the couch like a beached whale demanding that Pim wait on her.

If only all first-loves were as sweet and sensitive as this and devoid of all the usual melodramas!! 


Posted by queerguru  at  16:09


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