World premiere of “Hellhole” by Belgian director Bas Devos shown at the Berlin film festival
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    World premiere of “Hellhole” by Belgian director Bas Devos shown at the Berlin film festival

    “Hellhole”, the second feature-length film by Belgian director Bas Devos, was shown at the Berlin film festival on Friday evening (a world premiere). It was entered in the Panorama category. The title “Hellhole” is a nod to American President Donald Trump’s less than complimentary description of Belgium’s capital city. It tells the story of “lost souls” in Brussels in 2016. 

    Bas Devos’ film was well-received in Berlin. However, the director explained that “it was months before ordinary Brussels citizens were able to walk through the streets with their head up”. He also admitted that while making the film, he had to think long and hard about how to let the city ‘breathe’ and show how “these solitary people were all connected to each other nonetheless”. 

    The film’s story is based around house calls by a certain Dr Wannes. Among his patients is a Moroccan called Mehdi, who reminds him of his own son Joris, an F-16 pilot currently deployed in the Far-East. There is also an Italian, Alba, who is an interpreter for the European Parliament. She is trying to find a way out of her solitude and lethargy through drugs. 

    The main roles are played by Willy Thomas, Alba Rohrwacher, Hamsa Belarbi and Lubna Azabal. 

    The Belgian director attended the festival with his first film “Violet” in 2014. The world premiere of “Violet” was shown in the Generation 14 plus category (for adolescents) and it won the top prize for that category. 

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times