Felix van Groeningen in Cannes competition

The Flemish filmmaker joins Lukas Dhont and the Dardenne brothers as contenders for the Palme d’Or. This is a historic moment for Belgian cinema.



Journalist at the Culture Department


Reading time: 3 mins

Por Belgium, we can already say that the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be historic. Because to Lukas Dhont and the Dardenne brothers selected in competition is added the Flemish couple Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch with their Italian film “The eight mountains”. Adaptation of the eponymous novel by Paolo Cognetti. “The Eight Mountains” is the story of Pietro and Bruno, a child from the city and another from the mountains. They become friends at eleven, with a hidden corner of the Alps as a kingdom. Life separates them without being able to separate them completely. While Bruno remains faithful to his mountain, Pietro travels the world. This crossing will introduce them to loneliness and love, their origins and their destinations, but above all friendship from life to death.



An Italian-Belgian-French co-production, the film, whose screenplay was co-written by Félix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, brings together many Belgians in the credits, including the director of photography Ruben Impens or the editor Nico Leunen who have already collaborated with Félix van Groeningen for Alabama Monroe (“The Broken Circle Breakdown”), “Beautiful Boy” and “La Merditude des Choses” which caused a stir during its presentation at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in 2009, the team disembarking naked on bicycles on the Croisette. Note that Ruben Impens was the director of photography for “Titanium”, which won the Palme d’Or last year. Alongside Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch takes her first steps as a director with this film.

The incredible visibility of Cannes

About Cannes, Felix van Groeningen told us in 2021, a year without a festival: “When we made a film, Cannes, it is a huge stress because we are waiting to be selected. We say that is very important. Because it is the festival that can change something. When Alabama Monroe was not taken, I had a lot of trouble… – finally, the film went to the Oscars. But still ! Cannes gives incredible visibility to a film. He also told us: “Thanks to Cannes, I met my American agent. I could have answered a lot of proposals. But I needed time to adjust to the new reality. Success imposes many things that require a lot of energy to stay on its way. Me, I decided to make one film after another, taking the time because each turn takes a lot of energy from me. That’s how I never got lost. »

Another Belgian moment from the official selection with Adil & Bilall who will present “Rebel” as a world premiere. After the Hollywood adventure, the return to the country pays off for the Belgian duo since it offers them the Cannes adventure to live in a midnight session. The film, produced by Caviar Antwerp, tells the story of Nassim, a 13-year-old Moroccan from Molenbeek of Muslim faith, in the midst of an identity crisis after the death of his father. His mother, Leila, tries to keep him away from his older brother, Karim, who has “gone badly”. Despite his age, Nassim will have to make choices that will define the rest of his life.

This year in Cannes, it will be above all “The eight mountains”, “Rebel”, “Close” as well as “Tori and Lokita”.


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