Ultranova review

The semi-industrial outskirts around Liège form the backdrop to this pared-down, melancholic debut from Belgian Bouli Lanners. Dimitri (Vincent Lecuyer) is a shy young man, living alone and with a dead-end job selling prefabricated homes. Rumour has it he suffered a childhood family tragedy - something that sparks the romantic interest of thrill-seeking factory-worker Cathy (Hélène De Reymaeker).

Atmosphere, not plot, is the key here, with the almost monochrome cinematography creating an off-kilter universe of deserted bars, half-finished houses and mysteriously inflating car air-bags, while the widescreen framing accentuates the loneliness of its misfit characters. Slight in emotional impact, perhaps, but there are pleasingly deadpan performances and some droll humour involving Dimitri's hapless, security-obsessed boss.

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