Fifty-something Lei (Bart Slegers) is a petty criminal just about getting by in the Dutch province of Zuid-Limburg. His son Jeffrey is everything to him; all he has. Gluckauf revolves around this suffocating love. However, it is afflicted by a curse that has its roots in the history of the region.
Without the point being overly laboured, the closing of the mines in this forgotten part of the Netherlands is felt in every pore of the narrative, like a wound that just won’t heal. This curse (Lei’s ex-wife refers to it as a ‘punishment’) is given beautiful visual form. Many of the settings are sombre and dark, like omens of what is to come. And during a crucial car journey undertaken by father and son - the moment their estrangement begins to sound final (Jeffrey says Lei ‘sounds like a woman’) - all we can see is a glimpse of Lei’s face, and total darkness is just around the corner.
Remy van Heugten, who grew up in this area, has made a personal, gripping film that convinces on every level: script, acting, camera, art direction and editing are all rock solid. The abrasively realistic style is unmistakeably reminiscent of the films of the Dardenne brothers, who set most of their films just a stone’s throw away. With Gluckauf, the Netherlands now has its own version, every bit as powerful and painful.

Filmmaker
Remy van Heugten
Premiere
World premiere
Country
Netherlands
Year
2015
Medium
DCP
Length
102’
Language
Dutch
Producer
Joram Willink, Piet-Harm Sterk
Production Company
BIND
Sales
BIND
Writer
Gustaaf Peek
Cinematography
Mark van Aller
Editor
Moek de Groot
Production Design
Minka Mooren
Sound Design
Alek Goosse, Francois Dumomt
Music
Jorrit Kleijnen, Alexander Reumers
Cast
Johan Leysen, Bart Slegers
Website
http://facebook.com/filmgluckauf