You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

North Sea Texas

A lonely gay adolescent suffers the pangs of unrequited passion in "North Sea Texas," a poignantly rendered coming-of-ager from tyro Belgian helmer Bavo Defurne.

With: Jelle Floorizoone, Eva Van Der Gucht, Mathias Vergels, Nina Marie Kortekaas, Katelijne Damen, Luk Wyns, Thomas Coumans, Ben Van Den Heuvel, Nathan Naenen, Noor Ben Taouet. (Dutch dialogue)

A lonely gay adolescent suffers the pangs of unrequited passion in “North Sea Texas,” a poignantly rendered coming-of-ager from tyro Belgian helmer Bavo Defurne. Delicately capturing the ecstasy of first love and the heartache of frustrated desire, this affecting Montreal World Film Fest entry nabbed first-feature awards from critics and jury, the latter a second-place Silver Zenith. Pic could parlay its kudos into additional niche arthouse distribution, even Stateside; further fest and ancillary action is assured.

The narrative unfolds in a small town on the Belgian coast in the late 1960s and ’70s, where introverted dreamer Pim (Jelle Floorizoone) grows up accustomed to neglect from his selfish mother, Yvette (Eva Van Der Gucht), and petty humiliation from her putative boyfriend, Etienne (Luk Wyns). A now-plump former beauty queen, Yvette still has a penchant for flirting with locals at the Texas bar and performing on the accordion that far overshadow her maternal instinct.

Pim eventually finds succor at the home of Yvette’s co-worker Marcella (Katelijne Damen), where he hero-worships her several-years-older son, motorcycle enthusiast Gino (Mathias Vergels). Meanwhile, Marcella’s daughter Sabrina (Nina Marie Kortekaas) obviously longs for his attention.

Friendship turns into love when Gino, cautioning Pim to secrecy, provides the besotted boy’s first sexual experience. But when Gino begins a relationship with a French girl, jealous Pim focuses his wistful romantic fantasies on Zoltan (Thomas Coumans), the hunky itinerant carnival worker who comes to board at his house. Unfortunately for Pim, Yvette also sees Zoltan as a way out of their dead-end town.

the pic benefits from an artful combination of naturalistic performances and attractively stylized visuals, aided by judicious use of an evocative score. The isolated seaside location (unspecified in the film but shot in Ostende) practically becomes a character itself, with gorgeous shots of crashing waves, blowing reeds and empty sand dunes employed lyrically throughout.

Debuting director Defurne, known for his shorts celebrating gay love, took a risk in casting a trio of age-appropriate newcomers, but Floorizoone, Vergels and Kortekaas repay him with emotionally truthful performances. The adult thesps, too, are generally strong, particularly the sensual Van Der Gucht and the sizzling Coumans, who unself-consciously display their bodies. The weak link, performance- and character-wise, is Damen’s Marcella, who is saddled with too much expository dialogue.

Executed in widescreen with a Red One camera, Anton Mertens’ crisp lensing leads a colorful craft package.

North Sea Texas


Production: A Kinepolis Film Distribution (in Belgium)/Salzgeber & Co. (in Germany) release of an Indeed Films production with the support of Flanders Audiovisual Fund, in co-production with Mollywood, EEN. (International sales: Wavelength Pictures, London.) Produced by Yves Verbraeken. Directed by Bavo Defurne. Screenplay, Defurne, Yves Verbraeken, based on the book "Nooit gaat dit over" by Andre Sollie.

Crew: Camera (color, HD, widescreen), Anton Mertens; editor, Els Voorspoels; music, Adriano Cominotto; production designer, Kurt Rigolle; art director, Merijn Sep; costume designer, Nathalie Lermytte; sound (Dolby Digital SRD), Johan Somers. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (First Films, competing), Aug. 22, 2011. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Jelle Floorizoone, Eva Van Der Gucht, Mathias Vergels, Nina Marie Kortekaas, Katelijne Damen, Luk Wyns, Thomas Coumans, Ben Van Den Heuvel, Nathan Naenen, Noor Ben Taouet. (Dutch dialogue)

More Film

  • Peter Rabbit trailer

    Australia Box Office Recovers, Grows 3.8% in 2018

    Gross theatrical box office in Australia grew by 3.6% in 2018, to $890 million (A$1.25 billion). The score was propelled by a rebound in the performance of the top local films. Data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia published Tuesday showed aggregate cinema revenues recovering after a dip in 2017. While the 2018 [...]

  • Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics

    Q&A: Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics While Hosting the SAG Awards

    Megan Mullally is funny. The “Will & Grace” star can also sing and dance. While she’s not picking up the Oscar hosting gig after the Kevin Hart fiasco, Mullally will take center stage on Sunday, Jan. 27 when she makes her debut as the host of the 25th annual SAG Awards. Variety caught up with [...]

  • Glass trailer

    'Glass': Five Box Office Takeaways From M. Night Shyamalan's Thriller

    With his fifth No. 1 box office opening, M. Night Shyamalan has plenty to celebrate. “Glass,” the conclusion to a trilogy that consists of the 2000 cult hit “Unbreakable” and 2016’s box office sensation “Split,” topped the box office last weekend — though its win comes with a few caveats. James McAvoy reprised his role [...]

  • Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama

    Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama Title 'Family Members' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Patra Spanou has picked up world sales rights to “Los miembros de la familia” (Family Members), which will world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. Variety has been given an exclusive first look of the film’s trailer. The film is the second feature from writer/director Mateo Bendesky, and is produced by Agustina Costa [...]

  • Great Point Media, The Development Partnership

    Great Point Media, Development Partnership Join Forces on Slate of Movies

    Great Point Media and The Development Partnership, the development and production arm of the talent agency the Artists Partnership, are joining forces to develop, package, and co-produce multiple films, kicking off with three projects, including “Chasing Agent Freegard,” starring James Norton (“War & Peace”). “Chasing Agent Freegard,” which is being produced by “Captain Phillips” co-producer [...]

  • Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’

    Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’ Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s Miami-based FiGa Films, a leading sales agent on the independent Latin American scene, has announced the acquisition of Brazilian doc “Landless,” and released a trailer for the Costa Rican-Spanish drama “El despertar de las hormigas.” Both features will play at this year’s Berlinale Forum and come from young Latin American filmmakers making their [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to

    Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to Promote 'Deadpool 2' in China

    Ryan Reynolds canceled surgery on his arm to fly to China and charm “Deadpool” fans in Beijing on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s unexpected China theatrical debut. Just last week, Fox suddenly announced that a re-cut, PG-13 “Deadpool 2” would hit Chinese theaters starting this Friday – the first time the notoriously blood-splattered and foul-mouthed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content