There’s a fine line between slow-moving Antonionian ennui — or “Antoniennui,” as Andrew Sarris memorably called it — and impenetrable dejection, and after three films that can be classified as the former, Dutch scribe-helmer Nanouk Leopold’s first English-language pic takes her into the realm of the latter. “Brownian Movement” is again composed of ethereal, exquisitely lit widescreen tableaux. But the protag’s actions remain a mystery not only for Leopold, but also for the audience. After some minor fest action, ancillary looms.

Brussels-based medical researcher Charlotte (German thesp Sandra Hueller) rents a room where she has (pretty graphic) sex with unappealing strangers, despite sharing a home, life and kid with a handsome architect (Dutch actor Dragan Bakema). A shrink (Sabine Timoteo) tries to get her to talk, but Charlotte is unsure why she behaves as she does, and she’s not particularly apologetic. The couple then moves to India, where hubby remains suspicious every time Charlotte even talks to a man. Actors are luminous but largely unreadable, with storytelling so elliptical, pic often feels like a succession of deleted extraneous scenes rather than a coherent narrative. Still, Leopold’s technical prowess again impresses.

Brownian Movement


  • Production: A Cineart release (in Netherlands/Belgium) of a Circe Film, Coin Film, Serendipity Films, Bella Cohen films production, in association with VPRO. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Stienette Bosklopper. Co-producers, Elle De Waele, Herbert Schwering. Directed, written by Nanouk Leopold.
  • Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Frank van den Eeden; editor, Katharina Wartena; music, Harry de Wit; production designer, Elsje de Bruijn; costume designer, Ulrike Scharfschwerdt. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Visions), Sept. 13, 2010. Running time: 101 MIN.
  • With: With: Sandra Hueller, Dragan Bakema, Sabine Timoteo, Ryan Brodie, Frida Pittoors, Nicole Shirer. (English, French dialogue)