Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 2003
  • 127 mins

Any Way The Wind Blows

Any Way The Wind Blows

Synopsis

Belgian musician Tom Barman's feature debut is a multi-grained slice of Antwerp life set over 36 hours

About

In 1999, the year that saw the release of PT Anderson's Magnolia, Tom Barman decided to take time out from fronting the Belgian rock band dEUS in order to write the screenplay for his feature debut. The timing is hardly a coincidence, for with its multiple characters, crisscrossing storylines, fateful confluences and occasional bursts of the irrational, all choreographed to a closely integrated score, Any Way The Wind Blows owes a considerable debt to Anderson's film, and acknowledges that debt by including JJ Cale's 'Magnolia' in the eclectic mix of songs that makes up its soundtrack.

What makes Any Way The Wind Blows stand out from Magnolia and other slice-of-life films (13 Conversations About One Thing, Crash, Me And You And Everyone We Know, Look Both Ways) is its breezy energy, as well as a refreshing refusal on Barman's part to bring his characters' crises to anything like a neat resolution.

Here a motley ensemble is shown constantly on the move, emerging from barely glimpsed pasts to unite at a carnivalesque party, before heading off into darkly hinted futures - and viewers are left none the wiser as to whether they have witnessed a messianic miracle, the end of the world, or just another ordinary day in Belgium.

Antwerp, a Friday in June. After being hit full in the face by an errant frisbee, single father Walter (Vercruyssen) loses his beloved projectionist's job under suspicious circumstances, while his restless ex Lara (De Belder) flirts with everybody and dreams of settling into responsibility. Stuffy middle-aged novelist-cum-teacher Paul (Kloeck) feels as though his life ended long ago. Irascible, 1980s-obsessed billposter Frédérique (Boel) and his loose-bowelled sidekick Felix (De Voogdt) half jokingly plan an anarchist raid on a police building's canteen.

Meanwhile cynical, womanising gallery owner Firmin (Roofthooft) gets nostalgic about a past love and is haunted by the ghost of Andy Warhol. Chouki (Schoenaerts) plans to make a bold artistic statement using a bacteria sample pilfered from the Institute for Tropical Medicine, while his disheartened sister Natalie (Broods) frets about her relationship with Walter and prepares for a party that evening to which everyone will come - even the mysterious Windman (Louwyck), who has just blown into town with an unusual power and a need to dance.

Mixing Dutch with French and English, professional with non-professional actors, jazz with techno, the young with the not-so-young, philosophy and art criticism with drugs and delinquency, naturalism with surrealism, and light comedy with apocalyptic tragedy, Any Way The Wind Blows defies easy categorisation.

Sprawling, episodic, and just the right side of pretentious, it makes up for its bold lack of conventional narrative (let alone conclusion) with a string of finely observed, vaguely interconnected vignettes that all add up to something as fugitive and phantasmagorical as life itself, in all its loves, fears and dreams.

Performed with conviction and directed with verve, Any Way The Wind Blows rates as one of the most mature and ambitious debuts in years, wafting in a great new talent for Belgium's cinema scene.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Sam Louwyck, Diane De Belder, Jonas Boel, Matthias Schoenaerts, Natali Broods, Eric Kloeck, Frank Vercruyssen
  • Director: Tom Barman
  • Screen Writer: Tom Barman
  • Producer: Christian Pierre, Alex Stockman, Hector Camerlynck
  • Photographer: Renaat Lambeets
  • Composer: Tom Barman

In a nutshell

Barman's vital ode to Antwerp offers not so much a slice of life as the whole loaf, cut thin but sharp.

by Anton Bitel

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook

    Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in this Oscar-winning romantic dramedy that deals with the implications of a relationship forming in the midst of mental illness

  • Film4 The Wackiest Ship In The Army

    The Wackiest Ship In The Army

    Jack Lemmon stars as a Lieutenant tricked into taking command of a ship full of misfits, tasked with a top secret mission to save hundreds of allied lives

    On Film4: 29 Apr 4:45PM

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook on Film4

    Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar-winning performance opposite Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's superior romantic comedy.

  • Film4 The Pact

    The Pact on Film4

    When Annie's sister disappears while organising their mother's funeral in their childhood home, she investigates as an unwelcome presence in the house begins to be felt

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share