Trauma and post-traumatic stress are common concepts nowadays. Director Martine Doyen puts a nice spin on them by making an historic and modern film at the same time. In Brussels, witnesses from nearby or afar of the terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in 2014 are plagued by collective hysteria, dancing frenetically in the streets. HAMSTERs is also inspired by the 'dancing mania' which took place in Brussels in 1564. Doyen’s film spontaneously absorbs chaos and shock, responds to mindless disorder by its own joyfully weird, therapeutic disorder. The 'dancers' disrupt public space the same way terrorists do, maybe in a more disturbing way.
Lo-fi, micro-budgeted, improvised, as raw as a punk song, HAMSTERs is also a documentary on the old, working-class Marolles neighbourhood in Brussels, using non-professional actors and throwing some eccentric inhabitants into the mix. Its title suggests a cold experiment with guinea pigs but the film is sincerely, humanely embedded in its surroundings.