North Sea Texas (Nordzee, Texas)

Directed by: Bavo Defurne

Written by: Bavo Defurne, Yves Verbraeken

Year: 2011

Running time: 94 minutes

Rating: NR

Based on: Nooit gaat dit over by Andre Sollie (novel)

Pim (Ben Van den Heuvel & Jelle Florizoone) is a Belgian who lives by the seaside with Yvette (Eva van der Gucht), his distant and apathetic mother. North Sea Texas chronicles his attempts to find love as a distraught and bored teenager, all while dealing with his tense parental relationship.

I would go into more detail about the plot, but it’s hard to pin down a central thread more specific than that. The whole story sort of meanders around for a half-decade or so until it reaches its awkward (but appropriately depressing) conclusion. While that does make the film drag on at times, it also makes the various twists unexpected and dramatic as opposed to obvious. Regardless of the structure, where the film really succeeds is in creating a diverse cast of characters who are flawed, but complex and interesting. Both the script and the top-notch acting bring these realistic people to life.

It is strange that occasionally the film will cut to a shot of some place, then cut away mere seconds later. These “faux-establishing shots” add little to the film, and only serve to confuse the audience.

Overall: A good drama that uses its odd structure and three-dimensional characters to its advantage.

Nordzee, Texas (aka North Sea Texas), Bavo Defurne (2011)

If you’ve seen a few gay coming-of-age films, you’ve already seen North Sea Texas. And if you like cute stories and don’t care much about coherence, then take a look at this one. Because that’s the film’s main problem, it comes up with a lot of interesting leads only to fall back on the predictable improbable ending. We never get to really know the characters, even the main one, we’re left with all these clues and no idea what to do with them. And the 60s setting feels out of place (I don’t even know how the setting can feel out of place but it does). It is cute though.

North Sea, Texas

Based on André Sollie’s novel Nooit Gaat Dit Over, Noordzee Texas is about a teenage boy’s search for love finds him fixated on a boy who lives nearby. It stars Jelle Florizoone, Mathias Vergels, Nina Marie Kortekaas & Eva Van Der Gucht.

Premise: Pim is an emotionally abandoned and affection-starved young gay boy from a small seaside town. He’s “raised” by an absentee single mother whose considered the town’s floozy. Frequently home alone, Pim often spends time at a neighbor’s house where another single mom and her two teenage children Gino and Sabrina.

Review: Pim, Gino, and Sabrina, are entering a period of sexual awakening and the movie is very much about finding love, first love, and  heartbreaks. It’s a bit of a strange movie with a very slow and dream-like pace. There seem to be a lot going on in Pim’s mind but it doesn’t always translate on screen. I am not criticizing the actor here because I think he did a great job, I’m just saying that some scenes could have used a little push to make them great.

There are extremely long silences and yes, they are putting emphasis on those scenes and the fact that Pim lives in a dream world. But maybe there are too many of them. Pim cannot seem to catch a break in this film, when he’s starting to get over Gino, here comes another heartbreak. In that aspect the movie is very realistic, it’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster. There’re subtle changes throughout the movie showcasing that change is part of life, something that we have to deal with.

North Sea, Texas has beautiful photography, great visuals and score that add an eerie feel to the movie. Speaking about eerie, Pim started off, sweet but slowly got creepy - in my opinion - with his obsessive hoarding of anything guys he liked owned. I also didn’t understand the whole alphabet reciting thing but it sure added to his creepiness.

Finally, for a film set in the 1970s with gay characters, it was refreshing to see that the whole shame, self-loathing and guilt of being gay was dismissed for a coming of age story. Treating Gino and Pim’s story as the most natural thing. If you haven’t seen the movie please watch it and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section bellow or tweet @wornoutspines. ?