The Flower Shop: True friendship
by Carlota Moseguí
- Ruben Desiere unveils a contemplative dream-like film, in which the heroes are three thieves who lock themselves in a florist on the way to completing the perfect burglary
Three amateur thieves are hiding at a florist in Brussels to finalise the details of what will be their first and only burglary. From there, (Tomáš Balog), Rasto (Rastislav Vaňo) and Mizu (Vladimír Balász) are going to dig a tunnel into the city's sewage system. With a bit of ingenuity, perseverance and a map of the municipal underground network, the three Slovak immigrants will then be able to enter the National Bank of Belgium and rob it during the night, without resorting to violence. Alas, this supposedly perfect plan isn’t so perfect after all, because the bandits have forgotten to factor in one particular meteorological issue that will prevent them from travelling through the sewers: rain.
Stuck in the back of the florist thanks to a storm, the three young men chat, sing and drink to pass the time. In these whispered conversations, which are indeed at the heart of the excellent The Flower Shop [+see also:
interview: Ruben Desiere
film profile] by Belgian director Ruben Desiere, screened in the Bright Future section at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam, the characters express their desires, fears, qualities and their vision of the world. This debut feature film brings together some magical and deeply human moments, where the purity of true friendship is revealed.
The director shoots the scenes in which the characters are relaxing as dialogues with long shots, which only serves to intensify the feeling of immobility that emanates from the plot. However, the rhythm of this film (which seems close to the current so-called "slow cinema") is not the only element that transforms the ordinary conversations into an experience as sensory as it is contemplative: the sound of the water (which is the only soundtrack to the film) allows us to perceive the robbery as something that was almost imagined under hypnosis.
The three main characters in The Flower Shop are brought to life by Slovak refugees that Desiere met in Brussels while working on his previous film: the medium-length documentary Kosmos. In fact, their survival as members of a minority in a foreign country is one of the themes that the audience will no doubt be debating once the credits roll. However, as the director himself said to Cineuropa at Rotterdam (read the interview here) The Flower Shop is by no means a political commentary.
(Translated from Spanish)
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