The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner: Left Bank (Linkerover)

Pieter Van Hees' atmospheric Left Bank (Linkerover) is a dreamy, sensual, nightmarish, but, ultimately, life-affirming tale that slowly draws the viewer into its world.

Set in Antwerp on Belgium's Left Bank (natch), Left Bank tells the tale of a young long distance runner ( Marie played Eline Kuppens) who is training for an upcoming competition when suddenly she falls ill with an undetermined virus that seems to be compromising her immune system. Due to the malady, Marie is ordered by her doctor to quit the running gig and get some rest. Before to0 long, Marie makes the acquaintance of a young archer ( Bob, played by Matthias Schoenaerts) and the couple are drawn to each other.Inasmuch as Marie always seems at odds with her New Age-health-food-selling-mother, she takes Bob up on his offer to move in with him in to his deluxe apartment in the sky in Left Bank. Bob explains that he got the big apartment for cheap because the former tenant went missing, and his grandmother is the owner of the building. After Marie meets Bob's somewhat odd-ball granny, they move in together, have a lot of sex, and then things start getting odd...Almost immediately, Marie starts having weird dreams. Her first nightmare is of her running through the woods when she comes across an infant left alone in what appears to be the ruins of an old stable, or some kind of bird coop. Marie picks the infant up, and let's it take suckle from her breast, and then, suddenly, the baby becomes the full grown Bob. The camera pulls back and it seems like we are seeing a living version of Michelangelo's Pietà .Besides the dreams, and a creeping depressive and lonely state of mind, Marie starts becoming sicker. She is gaining weight, feeling weak, her leg has a bruise that keeps getting worse, and she's prone to vomit at a moments notice. Her doctor assures that she is not pregnant - but if she isn't well, the what in the hell is wrong with her? Oh, and what's up with black dust in her panties and on her skin?

After a meeting with some of her neighbors, Marie discovers that the woman who once lived in her apartment was researching the Left Bank's history - it seems that this was the part of town that undesirables were placed, there is also talk of a pagan cult that did human sacrifices here, and a strange guild of some sort ... hey, what a second, didn't Bob mention that he was the head of a local guild?


Faster than you can say, Rosemary Woodhouse, the clues start piling up, bodies start dropping, and things don't look good for our gal.What sets Left Bank apart from the dozens of other tales of its ilk, is the denouement. I was, initially, upset for the film's heroine, and yet, the more I thought about it, she actually came out OK, that is, she got the one thing she'd asked for at the start of the proceedings, and despite the way it was delivered, all hope, after all, may not be lost...not just for Marie, but for any of us.

You are going to have see this one for yourself if you want to know what I mean.

1 comment:

senski said...

You've sold me. This sounds very reminiscent of Polanski's The Tenant, one of my favorites...