Rasmus gratuated as a director from the film school Super16 and made his debut last year film the claustrophobic catastophy film ’Cutterhead', that has toured festivals around the world. The film was nominated for CPH PIX's main award in 2018.
Young Master: Bas Devos ‘Hellhole’
French, Arabic, Dutch, English, Italian
Willy Thomas, Alba Rohrwacher, Hamsa Belarbi, Amine Belhilal
Marc Goyens, Tomas Leyers
Les Films du Losange
Donald Trump called Brussels ‘a hellhole’, but Bas Davos was already deep into his second feature film on three perfect strangers trying to create a home in the multifaceted city loathed by the American president.
When a terror attack hit Brussels’ airport and metro stations in March 2016, these horrible events automatically found their way into Davos’ manuscript as the visible markers of a European society fighting to handle the global political tension causing fear and hatred in the streets.
‘Hellhole’ premiered at the Berlinale in February and just three months later Davos was ready with his next film at Cannes. His hyper relevant cinematic stories cement him as one of the most important voices in European Cinema right now and as WEEKENDs first Young Master. Watch both ‘Hellhole’ and ‘Ghost Tropic’ at the festival and meet Devos himself in conversation with Danish director Rasmus Kloster Bro.
‘Hellhole’ is the mosaic portrayal of three strangers trying to find meaning, identity and a place to call home after the Brussels terrorist attacks. A Flemish doctor (Willy Thomas) is forced to confront his loneliness while his son is a fighter pilot in the Middle East. A young Algerian man (Hamza Belarbi) asks his brother for a suspiciously simple favor and an Italian woman (Alba Rohrwacher) working as an interpreter in the European Parliament is slowly losing the grip on her otherwise composed life.
Without attempting to analyze or explain the terror attacks, Devos is reflecting on the missing answers instead. On the loneliness and vulnerability of trying to cope with the results of global conflict, immigration and the search for identity. In both content and aesthetics, Devos examines intimacy, isolation, light and darkness. There’s an impressive sense of calm and confidence in each scene as the camera welcomes us in the characters’ lives discreetly and allows us to feel their doubt, their search for meaning and their efforts to make the hellhole into a home.
Since his graduation, Devos (born 1983, Zoersel) has created four shorts: ‘Taurus’, ‘Pillar’, ‘The Close’ and ‘We Know’. His first feature, ‘Violet’, won the Jury Prize at the Berlinale Generations, was selected for New Directors New Films at the MoMA NY and showcased at CPH PIX. ‘Hellhole’ premiered at the Berlinale Panorama in February 2019. Bas Devos’ third feature, ‘Ghost Tropic’, started production after the Berlinale and premiered at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight in May 2019.
In their harshness and simplicity, the words used by prominent figures and the international press to describe the city I live in, have a darkly seductive quality. No-go-zone. Ghetto of misery. Jihadi Capital. Hellhole. In these politically charged times, there seems to be no place for nuance, complexity or even for imagination in the public debate. And so, for me, a space opens up for a film. A space for subtlety and doubt. A space to counter the weight of all this apparent darkness and doom. In exploring the smallest, the submicroscopic moments between very different people, I find something I consider real: our tendency towards the light. They say, after all, that we are in hell. So the only way out is up.