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OVER THE HILL BAND: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
After the death of her husband Jean (François Beukelaers) seventy year old Claire (Marilou Mermans), who used to sing in a band called The Sisters of Love many years earlier, wants to go on stage again. She asks her failed R&B musician son Sid (Jan Van Looveren) to help her start a new band with Magda (Lea Couzin) and Lut (Lut Tomsin) from the old days, unbeknownst to her older son Michel (Lucas Van Den Eynd). The women initially think they are going to be singing songs from the old days until they realize that Sid will not help them unless they sing his music. Suddenly life is revitalized and Claire finds new meaning in everything around her.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's not as funny as I hoped, but this offbeat Belgian comedy drama has its own charms and surprises. The main story strand concerns three elderly women who find a new lease of life by forming an R & B band, with other themes including a mother's relationship with her two sons and in particular bonding with the son perceived to be the family's black sheep. There's a competitive element too in which the band enters a talent competition. Most of all, the film concentrates on perceptions and how they change; how the women see themselves and how others perceive them. There are some funny ideas and the marrying of the rhythms of today's music with that of yesteryear is nicely handled.

The film begins with one funeral followed by another. Seventy year old Claire (Marilou Mermans) is left widowed and prompted to reminisce about the good old days when she and her friends Magda (Lea Couzin) and Lut (Lut Tomsin) used to sing Elvis songs in a band called The Sisters of Love. 'Why don't you reform the group,' her older son Michel (Lucas Van Den Eynd) suggests, trying to find something that will keep his mother occupied now. But it Claire's younger son Sid (Jan Van Looveren), the out of work R&B musician whose conversation is littered by four letters words, who unwittingly becomes the catalyst to inspire her. Claire initial motivation is to help Sid get excited about something other than the valuable wine cellar her husband has left behind.

There are amusing scenes when Sid tells Claire, Magda and Lut he will only help them if they discard their version of Claire's favourite song Daydream and sing his kind of music. 'You have to move your hips,' he tells them as they get into the mood (aided by a joint). Meanwhile, Michel becomes concerned about Claire's expenditure as she digs into her savings to finance the band. There are problems elsewhere too with Magda's husband resenting her involvement: he would rather go on a cruise. Additionally, there's a side plot involving Artuur (Michel Israel), the organist for Lut's youth choir, who joins the band and takes a romantic interest in Claire.

During the lead up to the story's climactic scenes when the band appears on stage at the music talent night in front of a crowd of screaming youngsters and following a tattooed punk band, all kind of other dramas play out backstage. This is a film whose heart is definitely in the right place and while it may not prompt a standing ovation, has some nice observations to make.

Published February 3, 2013

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

OVER THE HILL BAND: DVD (M)
(Belgium, 2010)

CAST: Marilou Mermans, Jan Van Looveren, Lea Couzin, Lut Tomsin, Lucas Van den Eynde, François Beukelaers, Michel Israel, Jurgen Delnaet

PRODUCER: Dries Phlypoc, Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem

DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Enthoven

SCRIPT: Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem, Chris Craps

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gerd Schelfhout

EDITOR: Philippe Ravoet

MUSIC: Olaf Janssens, Tom Kestens

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Art direction: Steven Liegeois

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 17, 2012

PRESENTATION: 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: .

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella

DVD RELEASE: February 3, 2013







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