be-lgflag.gifBelgium is a small, really small, country. In land mass you could fit Belgium into the state of California just over 15 times! Small it maybe, but it is a country that is proud of its traditions and achievements. There are few counties for example that can boast a literacy rate of 99%. Even better,did you know that in this ‘super size’ world only 10% of Belgium adults are obese, a far cry from the 30% here in the US.

Well now Belgium has one more thing to boast about, Director Michael Roskam and his film Bullhead. This is one of five in the Oscar category for Best Foreign Language Film. We shall find out on Sunday if Michael and Belgiubullheadfinalposter1.jpgm are the winners.

I have a strong hunch that Bullhead, even though some claim is the underdog can pull the win off.  For years this Oscar category has been the stomping ground of the Art House maven. Either sickly depressing love stories or wretched tales of war torn cities (often with a love story intertwined). Bullhead is different. Bullhead is a wake-up call.

I will go so far as to say that it will appeal to a much broader audience than the Art House types. One of my favorite quotes comes from AMD’s Director Of Digital Entertainment, Charlie Boswell, I think he hits the subject right on the head:

Too violent for the Art House, too Art House for the mainstream

I like Charlie, but for once I have to disagree with him. I think Bullhead is a perfect ‘crossover’ film. The Art House will admire the wonderful framing of every single scene, and the mainstream will be hooked by the storyline.

Bullhead is being distributed by Alamo Drafthouse and I had the opportunity to talk to the CEO Tim League a few days ago. Tim selected Bullhead as one of the entrants in  Fantastic Fest’s AMD Next Wave Award category. Which of course it won with ease.

I have to admit that I had always thought of Fantastic Fest as being somewhat of the film industries version of Comicon, SciFi ruled! Tim put me straight on this point!

People think of us as a genre festival but we are not. We pick the very best films that we can find. I saw Bullhead at Cannes, and I just knew it was right for Fantastic Fest.

 One thing is clear, the whole country of Belgium is behind Bullhead. In an interview on www.ramascreen.com lead actor Matthias Schoenarts offered this comment:

In Belgium, it was like an A-bomb exploding, the critics, the newspapers, everybody was all over us and all of a sudden we were public friend number one, not public enemy number one, but public friend number one. Yeah, it was like a little mass psychosis for a week, it was a pretty fun experience, it was pretty crazy and pretty absurd at the same time, so yeah, just trying to enjoy it.

To the best of my knowledge Belgium has had a film nominated for an Oscar five times before, but has yet to score the Bulls eye. Is Bullhead the big one?

I have no wish to sound like TMZ or Entertainment Tonight, but there is a hot rumor that on Sunday the Belgium Consulate in LA is putting on a bit of an Oscar party.

This in my opinion sounds like the best party in town. Having spent some time in Belgium I can attest to the wonderful food and drinks. No boring dried out Chips n Dips at this party! No little bits of curled up Smoked Salmon on a dried and nasty landing pad of boring white bread. I will also go so far as to suspect that they will have some fine beer on call. Asking for a Bud, or a Silver Bullet will probably result in a blank look and an escort out of the building.

Beer and Belgium are not to be trifled with. Belgium even has Monks are in the beer biz:

The Trappist monasteries that now brew beer in Belgium were occupied in the late 18th century primarily by monks fleeing the French Revolution. However, the first Trappist brewery in Belgium (Westmalle) did not start operation until 10 December 1836, almost 50 years after the Revolution. That beer was exclusively for the monks and is described as “dark and sweet.” The first recorded sale of beer (a brown beer) was on 1 June 1861

Yup, I want an invite to this party!

Note To The Belgium Consulate:  My invitation to the Oscar party appears to have been lost in the mail. What should I do?

Simon Barrett

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