Moscow, Belgium



Moscow, Belgium
(Run Time: 102 Minutes) Marginal for Children

Barbara Sarafian and Jurgen Delneat in Neoclassic Films’ “Moscow, Belgium” (2008).

Barbara Sarafian and Jurgen Delneat in Neoclassic Films’ “Moscow, Belgium” (2008).

This is a chick flick, European-style. It has all the components needed to qualify for the genre, an overly sympathetic female protagonist, 41-year old Matty (Barbara Sarafian), two men, philandering husband Werner (Johan Heldenbergh) and a much younger suitor, 29-year-old truck driver with an anger management problem, Johnny (Jurgen Delneat), both of whom have more flaws than you can shake a stick at, and wonderfully sympathetic women surrounding the protagonist. Poor Matty is presented with a classic Hobson’s choice. Apparently the choice of rejecting both of the jerky men available to her is not an option to be considered. Matty’s confidants are her 17-year old daughter, Vera (Anemone Valcke), who is in love with another woman (certainly not a man, the cads)!, and her fellow postal clerk, both of whom are empathetic, understanding, and full of wise advice.
Even though this is pretty much a man-hating film, Sarafian gives a wonderful performance as the woman wronged by her husband and pursued by Johnny. Her performance is the best part of the movie, although all the actors give good performances. Delneat’s experience heretofore has been basically limited to the stage, and acting in the movies is a relatively new experience for him. Director Christophe Van Rompaey has a good eye for the problems with which a woman can be faced when she has three children and her husband runs off with another woman.
Even though Sarafian carries the movie (she is in almost every scene), Valcke, as her daughter, could be the person who gives the breakout performance here. She’s young, beautiful, and believable.
The setting for the movie is in a depressing small Belgium town, which mirrors the tone of the movie. There is not much humor here. The film starts with a long close-up of Matty’s haggard face with her hair in a mess, and it proceeds downhill from there in terms of joie de vivre.
Chick flick though it may be, it is far better than the chick flicks put out by American studios. Unlike the American genre, this is one that a man can sit through and in which he can become involved, even if he doesn’t see any admirable male in the film. (In Flemish/Dutch).


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