PODCAST| Sarah Bradbury interviews Bas Devos, director of the film Hellhole.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Belgian director Bas Devos speaks to us about his second feature Hellhole which was five years in the making after his debut Violet. He told us about how Donald Trump’s labeling of the his home city as a “hellhole” inspired the name of the film, how he cast his the three central characters of his story: Hamza Belarbi as young Arab Mehdi, Alba Rohrwacher, an Italian translator at the European Parliament, and Willy Thomas as Wannes a Flemish doctor, and his desire to capture his impression of a fractured Brussels in the wake of the 2016 terror attacks. He also shared his reflections on Belgian cinema and the power of film to help us understand our current political climate.
Hellhole: Brussels is a lonely city in the episodic drama of Belgian director Bas Devos. The spirits of politics haunt the center of an increasingly fragile European Union. Between war and peace, camps for refugees and parliamentary debates, a group of lost souls is driven by the sharpening and blurring of life. There is the young Arab Medhi, who suffers from the circumstances of the time and is asked by his brother for a momentous favor. There is the Flemish doctor Wannes, whose son is on the way to a combat mission to the Middle East. And there is the Italian translator Alba, whose life threatens to slowly but surely slip away from her. These people are connected by the movements of a camera, which is increasingly becoming a protagonist. Their searches explore the cracks and breaks of the city, its houses and its inhabitants. Sometimes the images orbit the events, then again it is concentrated stasis, through which the film seeks to capture its spirits.