Director: Dominique Standaert
Dominique Standaert’s neorealist film recalls the influences of past greats like Kieslowski (especially in Tom Tykwer’s film of K’s screenplay for Heaven) and de Sica (The Bicycle Thief) in his tale of a young black boy in Belgium who goes into hiding and teams up with an elderly anarchist after his illegal immigrant father is deported back to the Congo. Issues of immigration rights, racial equality and the hypocrisies of national policy are called into question and this film couldn’t be timelier to audiences in America as well. Hop was the first Belgian film to be photographed digitally and it was screened at a Lincoln Center film series for “Transcendant Realism: New and Old Cinema from Belgium”—it’s quite a showcase not only for its native country but the director as well. One is instantly aware of Standaert’s passion for humanity and the universal themes of family and equality and after doing a bit more research on him, I realized that it may be indicative of his own background living in a wide variety of places from Bombay to the United States and Rwanda. While one does have to admit that the film is a bit unbelievable and overly simplified in places (a few plot elements seem too convenient), the film is nonetheless a wholly original work that one won’t come across everyday.