Opening 31 Mar 2016
Paul is single, lives alone and has perhaps just one friend. He suffers from loneliness, but still, he is good at heart and would never hurt anyone. He works as a private detective and spends long hours alone in his car observing and photographing. One subject is 15-year-old Dorothy, whom he views at her home and at the skateboard park with her friend Claires. He knows that Dorothy is his daughter, the result of a short affair with Dorothy’s mother Christine. The relationship failed and Paul went off to England to seek his fortune.
Now, back in Belgium, Paul keeps his distance, but develops real fatherly feelings for Dorothy. Her family lives in a nice house with father, mother, teenaged daughter and a smaller daughter. Dorothy, in her teen-age years, finds it difficult to talk honestly with her mother. She suspects that the man living with them is not her real father, although legally he has assumed responsibility. There is nothing to be learned from Christine but by chance Claires and Dorothy speak with Paul (while he is observing them from his car) and learn about his job as a private detective. He is the perfect person to find Dorothy’s real father, but the assignment is a real dilemma for Paul, who cannot reveal his own relationship with the girl.
Director Savina Dellicour also spent seven years in England, learning film. However, she returned to her home country of Belgium, even to her former neighborhood, to realize a story that she had been re-thinking for many years. It is a gem of a story about people who must confront their lives and the ending is unexpected. All the actors are excellent and especially interesting, because they are perhaps not so well-known among English-speaking viewers. Manon Capelle, who plays Dorothy, is the only non-professional actress in the film. She was discovered among 300 young girls who came for casting try-outs – a real find, whose career is definitely on the move now. Much praise goes to Ewin Ryckaert, in charge of editing. The story moves quickly in just 84 minutes, with never a moment of boredom, but still no loose ends. The French, as well as the German title would be “all cats are grey in the dark.” Applied to the film, one can come up with various interpretations of this saying. See which one you find. (Becky Tan)