Noordzee Texas/North Sea Texas (2011)

I was having a hard time when i need to decide what’s the middle three 2013 LGBT blogathon post will be (i’ve already decided what i’m going to post on the first two days and the two last days in advance). So i keep going back and forth from several movies including High Art (1998), Hedwig and The Angry Inch (2001), Christopher and His Kind (2011), or Keep The Lights On (2012).

When i consult the list i just realized that i have not put a purely coming of age movie, yet (because what i’m going to post on day #6 will be counted as a musical instead :D). Nor have i put any foreign movies among the list (#5 will not count either since it’s Indonesian means local instead for me, and i think #4.1 is a transgender movie instead haha). Anyways, i remember that i have this movie forever and just haven’t get around to it. So let me take you too North Sea Texas, and see if the wind will took you away…

Adapted from a children book called Nooit Gaat Dit Over by André Sollie (which sadly has not been translated into english). Noordzee Texas aka North Sea Texas is a flemish drama film that was also a debut feature film of director Bavo Defurne.

North Sea Texas tells a story of a boy named Pim (Jelle Florizoone) and his journey from the age 10 to 17. Pim is lonely boy, trying to find peace and a safe place where he belongs in his mother tiaras and pageant sash. Living with a single mother in a little seaside town in Belgium. His mother, Yvette, was rarely there for him, opting to go partying and have her ways with men, trying to relieve her long gone youth as beauty queen.

Pim seeks for refugee in his neighbour house. His neighbour,  Marcella (Katelijne Damen), is also a single mother with two children, Gino and Sabrina. As he grew up into his mid-teens, Pim became a semi-permanent fixtures in Marcella family. Sabrina (Nina Marie Kortekaas), grew up to adore Pim. While Pim idolize Gino (Mathias Vergels) in an almost hero worship and become more infatuated by him. Together Pim and Gino explore their sexuality during tent sleepovers and little escapades by the lake.

When Gino started a romantic relationship with a french girl, Pim was left heartbroken and angry. When Zoltan, a travelling gypsy from his childhood arrive in in his town. He was hoping he’d be his ticket to escape his mundane life in the coastal town.

Pim, the central character of the movie is interesting to watch. Rather than spoken words and conversational exchanged, we get to know the boy from his gestures, routines, and habit as he evolve throughout his adolescent years. Jelle Florizoone portrayal of Pim was delicately balanced and emotionally engaging. We know how people in his world relate to him.

The movie is beautifully shot and have this soft yet colorful image that projects the beautiful frailness of the character and their story. Symbolic images use to create moods and evoke emotions from the viewer. The sexual nature of the film was presented metaphorically, made this film sensitive and preserving its innocence. There are lovely things i like, such as the cut from flashback to the present, how Pim collects items that he believe matters to him, or how he exchange his knife’s with Gino’s when he’s asleep. These little things built the story around Pim that enable us, viewers, to interpret their relationship.

It is different that a gay film does not face conflicts from the outside world in an implicit portrayal within the movie. But i think those things still exists within the personal conflicts of the character. This movie reminds me of Dream Boy (2008) which has similar premise, but does not share its tragedy (which i am thankful for). The love story in this film felt very delicate and chaste which is very appealing for me. I cant help but feel a little sense of optimism after i finished the movie. Which i supposed is suppose to be a good thing no?

I found that there are recurring scenes that relates between sexual awakening in a tent in some of gay movies i came across, including Defurne’s short Kampvuur (Campfire, 1999), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and Dream Boy (2008). I really wonder if there has been any paper written about it. Although i did read a piece of an article talking about the metaphorical closet space (personal space) vs public space behaviour in LGBT culture. So maybe, tent in these cases are representative of that closet space, despite being outdoors, to keep their proclivities in a confined space.

This movie, first and foremost, is about innocence and love (or perhaps maybe innocent love?)  It is an endearing love story that is heartwarming and hopeful. And i think, it will captivates the heart of the romantic :)

PS: Since it’s the first dutch movie i’ve ever seen, i can’t help but marvel at the linguistic similarities, it is just amusing to see one of the roots of Bahasa Indonesia.

Noordzee Texas or North Sea Texas has garnered positive reviews from critics and made its round in several international film festival. It has garnered positive reviews and received several awards including Silver Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film and the Fipresci Prize for a film in the First Films Competition in Montreal International Film Festival in 2011 and recieved Marc’Aurelio Alice nella Città 13 + Award from Rome International Film Festival.

Most pictures are taken from the official stills from the official website of the movie. The rest are taken from tumblr.

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4 thoughts on “Noordzee Texas/North Sea Texas (2011)

  1. Pingback: KaramelKinema | 2013: LGBT Blogathon | kinema kinema to karamel

  2. I think what you say about tents being used as symbolism in gay films is really interesting. Completely makes sense. North Sea Texas was my first Dutch film too, but I’m keen to see more now, including the rest of Defurne’s filmography.

    • i only noticed it because it was used in several films i’ve seen such as Dream Boy (2008) and of course Brokeback Mountain. :)
      wow tell me if there’s more of his work you’d recommend!

  3. Pingback: Noordzee Texas/ North Sea Texas (2011)… Coming out and of age | FYC: 365 reviews to remember you by

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