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North Sea Texas
North Sea Texas poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bavo Defurne
Produced by Yves Verbraeken
Written by Bavo Defurne
Yves Verbraeken
Starring Jelle Florizoone
Mathias Vergels
Eva Van Der Gucht
Katelijne Damen
Noor Ben Taouet
Music by Adriano Cominotto
Cinematography Anton Mertens
Editing by Els Voorspoels
Studio Indeed films
Mollywood
Eén
Distributed by Kinepolis Film Distribution (Belgium)
Cinemien (Netherlands)
Strand Releasing (USA)
Peccadillo Pictures (UK)
Release date(s) 16 March 2011 (2011-03-16)
Running time 96 minutes
Country Belgium
Language Dutch

North Sea Texas (Dutch: Noordzee, Texas) is a 2011 Flemish drama film and the first feature from cult director Bavo Defurne, starring Jelle Florizoone and Mathias Vergels. The screenplay was written by Bavo Defurne and Yves Verbraeken and is based in the 2004 children's novel Nooit gaat dit over by Andre Sollie. The film follows the story of Pim, a boy - living with his reckless mother - who falls in love with his male best friend, Gino.

Plot

A young Pim and his mother, Yvette, live in the Belgian countryside with their dog, a Miniature Pinscher named Mirza. The mother, a lonely divorcee, plays a piano accordion, and patronizes a local bar called Texas. One day Pim and his mother attend a fair, where they meet a traveling carny named Zoltan. Zoltan is kind to the younger Pim, and Pim is infatuated. Zoltan rents a room in Yvette's home intermittently, but later stops coming to town. Meanwhile, Yvette begins spending time with a man named Etienne, who is brutish and macho, and whom Pim immediately despises.

As time passes, Pim develops a close friendship with the slightly older Gino, who becomes his best friend. Pim falls in love with Gino. They both agree to keep their relationship a secret. Meanwhile, Gino's sister Sabrina develops feelings for Pim, and Gino nearly spends the night with a girl he is seeing named Francoise. Pim, seeing Gino kiss Francoise, commits an act of vandalism as revenge and a rift forms between the two friends. Sabrina subsequently finds out that Pim is gay, and Yvette breaks it off with the boorish Etienne. Around this time, the enigmatic Zoltan unexpectedly returns. Gino, growing uncomfortable with the complicated circumstances, begins pushing Pim away. Having long wanted Zoltan for himself, even before he fell in love with Gino, a distraught Pim runs off into the night. Devastated that he cannot be with Zoltan, and furious with his mother, Pim takes Mirza and moves in with Sabrina, while Gino is living out of town with Francois.

Following the funeral of Gino and Sabrina's mother Marcella, Pim and Sabrina are seen living together, although the living arrangement is clearly platonic. On a rainy day, Gino returns. After Pim tells Gino that his sister isn't home, Gino tells Pim that it was he who Gino came home for. Gino returns a cloth with special meaning to them both to Pim, telling him to tie a knot in it so that he will never forget him. He then proceeds to kiss Pim on the neck and the two embrace one another passionately. Pim tells Gino to "stay," and the film ends with the two of them embracing each other, suggesting a happy ending for the young couple.

Music

Theme Song - Wooly Clouds by Little Auk

Cast

  • Jelle Florizoone - Pim
  • Mathias Vergels [nl] - Gino
  • Eva Van Der Gucht - Yvette
  • Nina Marie Kortekaas - Sabrina
  • Katelijne Damen [nl] - Marcella
  • Thomas Coumans - Zoltan
  • Luk Wyns [nl] - Etienne
  • Ben Van den Heuvel [nl] - young Pim
  • Noor Ben Taout - young Sabrina
  • Nathan Naenen - young Gino
  • Ella-June Henrard [nl] - Françoise
  • Patricia Goemaere [nl] - Simonne
  • Daniel Sikora - Maurice
  • Victor Zaidi - Julien

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% out of 26 professional critics gave the film a positive review. Henry Barnes from The Guardian said that "North Sea Texas looks beautiful, is acted brilliantly, but it's hard to get a hold on when Pim's drifting by in a dream world." Allan Hunter from the Daily Express called it "A delicate little heartwarmer of a film."

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of the Chicago Sun-Times panned it, and compared the film to the director's previous efforts: “So why is it that Campfire is engrossing, while North Sea Texas is frequently dull?” Vishnevetsky notes this is Bavo Defurne's first feature-length film, having made short films since 1990, and Defurne fails to develop the characters or story with the extra time.

Awards

At the 2011 edition of the Montreal International Film Festival, the film received two prizes: the "Silver Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film" and the "Fipresci Prize for a film in the First Films Competition". In late October, the film premiered at the Rome International Film Festival. It was warmly welcomed there, receiving the Marc'Aurelio Alice nella Città 13 + Award of the Festival.

In January, the film was selected for the Palm Springs International Film Festival, along with four other Flemish films. It was released in the United States by Strand Releasing, after it bought the film rights to Wavelength Pictures.

The film was also screened at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and was released April 6, 2012 in the UK. In 2013 it was screened in the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, TLVFest.

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