- Ghost Tropic
- Bas Devos
- August 28 (Friday) through September 10 (Thursday)
“Gorgeous … A witching hour-and-a-half that unfurls as gradually and un-threateningly as the sky lights up during dawn.”Ben Driscoll, Sight & Sound
The second feature of 2019 for gifted Belgian writer-director Bas Devos is a triumph of formal precision and quiet, aching humanism. Selected for Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, Ghost Tropic observes the gentle journey of a 58-year-old Muslim cleaning woman named Khadija (Saadia Bentaïeb) who falls asleep on the last train of the night and, unable to afford a taxi, must make her way home on foot. Travelling glacially through an empty, nocturnal Brussels lit by street lamps, neon signs, and tail lights, she encounters fellow after-hours workers — a mall security guard, a gas station attendant, paramedics — who offer her help and small company. Slowly, details of Khadija’s life gain focus through these fleeting moments of human connection with strangers. Shot in 4:3 in granular 16mm, this unassuming work abounds in exquisite night-time compositions, saturated in glowing red, green, and blue hues, and captivatingly out-of-place soundscapes. Director Devos completed the movie mere months after his previous picture, Hellhole, premiered at the 2019 Berlinale.
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“A stunning little gem … A beautifully observed, hushed nocturnal odyssey ... This is the kind of really small movie that is actually really great.”Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
“In modest fashion, this poetic Belgian feature manages to say a good deal about life, death, and the state of the globalized world … A compressed epic.”Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader