The Fifth Season  {La cinquieme saison}

The Fifth Season
La cinquieme saison

Belgium, 2012, 93 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Environmental, French/French Canadian, Social Issues
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: French, Flemish English Sub-Titles

Nature goes into full-scale apocalypse in this exquisitely photographed film meditation on death set in a remote farming community in Belgium. Former documentarians Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth offer a series of tableaux that slowly build up a picture of a pervasive, endless winter that leads only to famine, starvation and the demise of the human spirit. Underlying events are whispers of suspicions and a sense of Revelations-type doom. Little by little, livestock dies, fish go belly-up, birds fall out of the trees. The bees are gone, the cows no longer give milk. There’s no one to blame, no rhyme or reason, only the overpowering threat of nature in the trees swaying in the wind overhead. The village’s stores dwindle. Each individual processes in his or her own strange way, and ultimately there is nothing but breakdown and the forces that prey on it.

Words are at a premium—the story is all background sound and images, whether of workaday tasks or the chaste kisses that young Alice and Thomas share in a quarry. The human figures are as much symbol as the Wicker Man about to be burned to bring winter to an end. There are hints of Buñuel and Tarkovsky, even Bergman, while the sere tone and bizarre story collide with the everyday ordinary. The pace is stately, at times almost glacial, as this cinematic poem gives each moment its due. Ambient sound paints depth into the landscape, while the landscape fails its human cargo, and the survivors find chaos within.

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DIRECTOR: Peter Brosens, Jessica Hope Woodworth
Producer: Philippe Avril, Peter Brosens, Sebastien Delloye, Diana Elbaum, J.B. Macrander, Joop van Wijk, Jessi
Editor: Jessica Hope Woodworth
Screenwriter: Peter Brosens, Jessica Hope Woodworth
Cinematographer: Hans Bruch Jr.
Principal Cast: Aurelia Poirier, Django Schrevens, Sam Louwyck, Gill Vancompernolle

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