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.