Opening 28 Jul 2011
In his 2008 blockbuster movie Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis, Dany Boon targeted the biases of the French against their provincial countrymen up North. In this film he ventures just a teeny weenie bit across the border; again he pokes fun at the absurdity of prejudices, especially between people who after all share language, religion and appearance: the Belgians (aka ‘waffles’) and the French (aka ‘camemberts’). Here, in the fictitious village of Courquain, they are staking their turf in opposite customs brigades.
In 1993, the European Union decides to do away with border checkpoints and to replace them with bi-national mobile border patrols. To Ruben’s (Benoît Poelvoorde) consternation he has been teamed up with Frenchmen Mathias (Boon). Mathias isn’t too thrilled either, but sees it as a chance to gain Ruben’s friendship; his secret love affair with Ruben’s sister won’t lead anywhere if her family doesn’t accept him. But that soon appears to be the impossible dream. Ruben, self-acclaimed francophile-st Belgian of all, can’t “love thy neighbor as thyself” as long as “thy neighbor” is French. “ No customs - no customers” is how the changes affect other villagers. The proprietors of the “No Man’s Land” (pub) need to supplement their income – but drug trafficking hasn’t become easier with the dismantling of the borders; especially not with Ruben and Mathias on patrol in their souped up Renault and with poodle-mix (?) ‘Grizzly’ in tow. A funny yet gentle plea to tear down borders in our hearts and minds, with a few sideswipes at EU policies as w (Carola A)