Swedish premiere/Méliès d’Argent Competition
In this striking rural noir, a German drifter (Frederick Lau, The Wave, Victoria) flees to Luxembourg to hide away in the small village of Schandelsmillen. Seduced by Lucy (Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread), the mayor’s daughter, he decides to stick around for longer than initially intended and finds work as a farmhand. Days go by and the stranger discovers he’s not alone when it comes to keeping secrets. As he tries to blend in with the locals their ‘welcome’ takes on a slightly aggressive character, almost as if they are too keen to incorporate him in their ranks. A palpable tension begins to grow between him and the close-knit community, generating a level of suspense that finds release during a brilliant and perplexing climax.
With his debut feature Gutland, Govinda Van Maele delivers a skillfully composed piece in a pure and unique voice. A naturalistic backwoods thriller that smolders patiently before dipping into surrealism, Gutland tackles its themes of alterity, assimilation and the malleability of identity in an eerily assured manner.
“It fascinatingly blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the eerie intro all the way through to a surprise finale that raises goosebumps” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter