AKA: The Ordeal
Directed by: Fabrice Du Welz
Starring: Laurent Lucas (Marc Stevens), Jackie Berroyer (Bartel), Jean-Luc Couchard (Boris), Brigitte Lahaie (Mademoiselle Vicky), Philippe Nahon (Old man at the end)
Country: Belgium, European Cinema
Language: French (English Subtitles)
Genres: Violence Against-Relationships with Animals, Captivity-Kidnapping, CrossDressing, Gruesome, Rape-Sexual-Violence against Men, Torture
Plot – Spoilers:
A mediocre singer Marc Stevens earns a living and a feeling of success by performing at old age homes usually around festive dates. For the lonely sad people he entertains, his relative youth and vivacity is a welcome relief and something they yearn for and look forward to every year. After one such performance, Marc heads to the South of Belgium for another show but gets stuck on a rainy lonely stretch in the woods when his sputtering van gives up on him. A weird looking man who’s searching for his lost dog appears and guides him to the village inn where the old innkeeper Bartel, offers to help him fix his van the next day.
However Marc’s departure gets delayed in myriad circumstances with Bartel not in a hurry to let him leave while also desperate to convince him that they’re both artists. March puts this behaviour down to loneliness when he hears Bartel’s sad tale of his wife Gloria dumping him.
What Marc Stevens, the singing showman, doesn’t realize is that he is about to receive the kind of attention he never craved….
Laurent Lucas is one of this era’s finest and it’s hard to imagine anyone else conveying torment with such misery.