by Aurore Engelen
- After her short film En attendant le dégel, Sarah Hirtt continues to explore the relationship between brothers and sisters in her first feature film
For her feature film debut, the young Belgian filmmaker Sarah Hirtt delves into the complex relationships that unite a broken family of siblings, living in Belgium and Spain, in conflict due to a problematic inheritance. After having already tackled the theme in her short film, En attendant le dégel, selected at Cannes in 2012, Hirtt continues to explore the relationships between brothers and sisters in Escapada [+see also:
interview: Sarah Hirtt
film profile], unveiled at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur.
Gustave, Jules and Lou struggle to agree on their family legacy: a dilapidated house surrounded by vineyards in southern Spain. Gustave, a haulier on the brink of bankruptcy, fails to save the family business. Jules, the anarchist militant, previously cut ties with his family, and lives far away in Europe. As for Lou, the youngest, she finds herself lost between her two brothers, and her goals in life lie elsewhere. They all have their vision of the world and ideas for the house, which will inevitably cause family disputes and welcome happy disorder into the characters' lives.
Beyond the extended relationships between the different siblings, various beliefs and a life that passes by, the film also questions our contemporary lifestyles, the race for success and consumption. Can we live on the margins of society? Can we invent new community models? Can we get rid of private property and the capitalist system? Can this utopia, which isn’t always so perfect, survive our individual destinies, and does it work well with family life?
Of course, Escapada also raises the question of material and immaterial inheritance. If the house in Spain crystallises the underlying tensions between Gustave, Jules and Lou, it only serves to reveal the contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings that lie at the heart of their relationships with each other (or lack thereof). Over time, we begin to deduce that everyone is coping with their new role and place in the family: the new patriarch, the rebel, the youngest child...
The film stars actors who are either new on the scene or haven’t been overly exposed on the big screen, such as the actor François Neycken, very active on the theatre scene and recently seen in Grosland, le gros métrage, or in the Belgian TV series La Trêve and Ennemi Public.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.