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Case Number 17325: Small Claims Court

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Silence, Ca Tue!

BrinkDVD // 2008 // 66 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // September 23rd, 2009

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Tom Becker ça va bien, merci.

The Charge

Banned in France and Belgium!

The Case

A bad, silly, amateurish student film-like project is a bad, silly, amateurish student film-like project in any language. Silence, Ça Tue! is a bad, silly, amateurish student film-like project with a French soundtrack.

It starts off promisingly enough. Director Christophe Lamot wants to make a movie, but because of the lack of financing for films in Belgium, he decides to make a film that consists of himself and a couple of friends being followed around by a cameraman. He tells us this at the beginning of the film and interacts self-consciously with those in front of and behind the camera. At first, this all seems like another "reality" exercise, with Lamot's mugging actually keeping the whole thing afloat.

Of course, just following these guys around would be boring, so the reality portion of our film is scrapped, and people start dying. I guess it's somehow supposed to seem organic, but it doesn't. It's all very contrived and silly, with death number one an accident (a terrible actor feigning fear and falling down stairs) that needs to be "covered up," which leads to some not very interesting or well-staged murders. The whole thing is handled so poorly it looks like a kid's home movie-version of a thriller. Watching it, you just want to tell the filmmakers:

• Corpses don't giggle.
• People shot through the head don't generally die with their eyes closed.
• People shot through the head don't generally die clutching their chests.
• Corpses don't change position on their own.
• Corpses don't change facial expressions on their own.

You get the idea.

Now, maybe this is actually part of the aesthetic. Perhaps I'm just missing the meta-narrative. Maybe the whole point here is that the lack of funding for new and innovative films in Belgium is causing potentially good directors to put out the kind of crap that you'd expect to find in a junior high A/V class circa 1990. But if that's the case, couldn't they have found some other way to express it besides making a movie that looks like it came from a junior high A/V class circa 1990?

This thing is just ridiculously amateurish and low rent. It's being touted in some places as an example of "guerilla cinema." I suppose if Lamot and company were actually going around killing people, this would be a valid claim, but I'm not sure what's "guerilla" about a few guys getting together and making an inept faux-reality movie. The disc features a "making of" and an interview with "Director Ljo Menzow," Lamot's wig-wearing, English-speaking alter ego. Both these featurettes are pretty silly and in-jokey. The transfer looks fine, though some might find the burned-in, non-removable English subtitles irritating.

According to the DVD case, Silence, Ça Tue! has been banned in France and Belgium, but unless the censors are waging a war on tedium, I don't buy it. I couldn't find anything on the Web to corroborate this, and there was nothing about this film that was daring or subversive enough to generate any controversy. If such a ban does exist, I wonder if it's because of some oddity unrelated to the content of the film.

The Verdict

Guilty of giving "low budget" a bad name.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile

Studio: BrinkDVD
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
• English
Running Time: 66 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Comedy
• Drama
• Foreign
• Independent

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette
• Interview
• Trailer


• IMDb
• Official Site (in French)

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