DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Homophobia reveals its ferocious and bestial face, in this punch-in-the-face Belgian real-life drama that will stay with you for a long time - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM TALLINN

Animals can inflict severe wounds, pain and even kill. They do it with the purpose of feeding or protecting themselves from other species. Except human beings. Human beings are a very strange beast. They can cause physical and psychological damage on each other just for the sake of it. Just for fun. Sadism is the most primitive and precarious of sentiments. Prejudice, hatred and self-loathing provide the fuel.

Brahim (Souflane Chilah) is a 20-something handsome gay men in a Muslim family somewhere in Belgium. He has been in a relationship for five years. He loves his boyfriend. He has never been able to share his sexuality with his family. His parents are kind and doting, yet unlikely to embrace anything relationship outside the established heteronormalcy.

The film opens during the birthday of Brahim”s mother, a boisterous party with numerous guests and vibrant Arabic music. Brahim’s father recites a poem about falling in love with a green and blue-eyed female (presumably Brahim’s mother). Brahim is tense. He doesn’t fit in and hardly has a reason to celebrate. One relative makes it abundantly clear that the family will never tolerate his “choice”. He explains that such tolerance would be deemed an act as subversive as homosexuality: “They would think I like it too”.

This is a Islamophobic movie, which portrays all Muslims inherently intolerant. Brahim’s mother is white. And he encounters the ugliest face of homophobia in the hands of white males around his age. Think about the violence of Larry Clark’s Bully (2001) and the gratuitousness of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (1997) and you are halfway there. What follows is extremely graphic, harrowing and indeed palpable. In fact, the film is based on a actual story, the name of the real Brahim revealed at the very end of the movie.

This remarkable Belgian film exposes the banality of evil in a very clear and concise fashion. It is possible to inflict unimaginable suffering and carry on with your normal life because you perceive your victim as an inferior race, unworthy of their existence. It is acceptable to drink, to laugh, celebrate your birthday, a wedding and even proclaim love and humanity with your hands dirty, having carried the most unspeakable of atrocities. Significantly, one of Brahim’s tormentors is aptly nicknamed “Hitler”. A bleak and sordid reminder of one of the rotten facets of humanity.

Animals has just premiered in Competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. A strong contender for one of the event’s top prizes.


By Victor Fraga - 18-11-2021

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Ian Christie dissects Powell and Pressburger

 

Victor Fraga - 27-02-2024

Film historian Ian Christie talks to DMovies' editor Victor Fraga about 21st century audiences and their relation to the iconic British filmmaking duo, P&P's influence on other artists, the late Queen, and much more - read our exclusive interview, in partnership with Doesn't Exist [Read More...]

Baldiga – Unlocked Heart (Baldiga – Entsichertes Herz)

Markus Stein
2024

Daniel Theophanous - 26-02-2024

Queer photographer from Germany openly exposed his life in a bid to remove HIV stigma from generations to come - from the Panorama Dokumente section of the Berlinale [Read More...]

Crowning the dirtiest movies: our verdict of the 74th Berlinale

 

Victor Fraga - 26-02-2024

Our editor Victor Fraga attended the 74th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival as a journalist and also the producer of a film in the Panorama section; this is what he thought of the event [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *