“Spoofing the characteristics of the detective, commissioner Van der Weyden is the distillation of the elements that make Bruno Dumont’s work so unique and irresistible.
“It would be a handy phrase to describe one of those elusive films that don’t quite congeal in ways that make stable sense: you could say such a film was ‘like Claire Denis in space.’ And now, that’s what we’ve got: Claire Denis in space.
“Hong captures these contrasting dramas in typically unadorned style, utilizing the hotel as both a symbolic space of refuge and reconciliation and a practical setting for the comings and goings of a variety of personalities (although, curiously, these five seem to be the hotel’s only visitors –
Jimi, a young man living in the Brussels’ neighbourhood Cité Modèle, tries to return a parcel to a local woman that was delivered to his apartment by mistake. When Jimi can’t locate her, finding her becomes an obsession.
“If Bi’s cinema has been clear about anything so far, it’s that he is completely unburdened by narrative cohesion. And why would he be? For one, Bi came to filmmaking from poetry, which he’s written a book of, and which he credits as the primary foundation for Kaili Blues.
“When I looked at the material I shot 30 years ago, I was shocked. Had I really forgotten how easily emotions can be stirred up against others and used by populist politicians?