Opening 14 May 2009
Eldorado is one of few films that are very funny, have black humour with a surrealistic twist, include poetic scenes, touch on social issues and don’t drift into slapstick. When Yvan (Bouli Lanners), a sloppy, unkempt second-hand car dealer, returns to his small house at night, he finds a burglar under his bed. It is the dead-scared, whimpering junky Elie (Fabrice Adde) who has broken in to steal a few Euro in a glass jar. Yvan, himself lonely and lost, takes pity on Elie who needs transport to visit his parents near the French border. They take off in Yvan’s ramshackle U.S. old-timer through spectacular landscape, meeting the most bizarre people on their way. One wonders how a small country like Belgium in the middle of “civilised” Europe can have such vast empty countryside and produce such variety of weird characters. They spend an afternoon with a boozing clairvoyant, survive a car crash in the forest and a nightly thunderstorm. During their time together, Yvan becomes quite fond of the young man who reminds him of his dead brother. Could his life become meaningful again?
Lanners, who directed, wrote the script and plays the lead role, very deservedly was announced the Winner of the Quinzaine at Cannes 2008 with the Award of the International Film Critics, Best European Film and Prix Regards Jeunes. He looks back on more than 40 Belgium and French films as an actor, but this is his second feature film as director. His first feature film Ultranova won an award at the Berlinale 2005.
Eldorado was the closing film at the Filmfest Hamburg playing to an enthusiastic full house at the CinemaxX Dammtor. Bouli Lanners and his young colleague Fabrice Adde greeted the audience after the German premiere of their film. Lanners told us that his script was based on real facts in as much as he had surprised a burglar, not in his house but on his boat. After a few hours of talking to the desperate young man he took pity on him – only to be robbed again by the same fellow. (Birgit Schrumpf)