Carbon Arc Cinema review: Here

I am the Artistic Director at Carbon Arc Cinema, whose mandate is to show the best in Canadian, international and documentary film. I’m part of a group of programmers who choose what we screen.

Written and Directed by Bas Devos | 82 min | Belgium | Carbon Arc Cinema 

One of our programming team called this film, “gentle,” and I wholeheartedly agree.

It’s the quietest, most meditative film I’ve seen since Petite Maman, with which it shares a kinship with its consideration of nature, though none of the supernatural overtones. This is a Belgian film, set in Brussels, told in French, Romanian, and Chinese, a rambling, non-plot-driven drama with just the smallest suggestion of romance.

It tells the story of a Romanian construction worker (Stefan Gota) who is about to begin a four week vacation, returning to his country. First he needs to empty his fridge of all its vegetables, which he does by making soup. He gives the soup to a friend, visits his sister, and eats dinner at the Chinese restaurant. There he meets a woman (Liyo Gong) who studies mosses, and later, he runs into her in a park and together they appreciate the green and the falling rain.

And there’s not much more to it than that. There’s some discussion of old friends and the important things in life, but it’s really a mood piece — a spiritual snapshot. The film may feel a bit modest to some, but it has a magnetism that’s truly unusual, exploring an unlikely connection between two people who couldn’t be more different, and a quiet confidence in the filmmaking that may beguile. Its simplicity is there in its title, an encouragement to take all this at face value and to be present with it.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.