Lichtspieltheater: "EX DRUMMER"

How controversial is cinema allowed to be? Is cinema entitled to do anything? Can cinema be entitled to do anything, or must it? EX DRUMMER, my first Belgian, made me gulp more than once and I am not angry of the way it was made, what it thematises or how it does so. Cinema is entitled to do anything, but it must be good! And EX DRUMMER is a masterpiece.

The plot:

Three disabled people form a band (“The Feminists”). They need a drummer and seek out the successful author Dries Vanhegen. He says yes and dives into the world of society’s misfits. He gets a deep insight in a society characterized by drugs, racism, sexual abuse, ignorance, disease and idleness. A world far away from any form of human dignity. It doesn’t leave him cold, but he likes to dive into this world, to manipulate and control it.

The most obvious and direct stylistic device is harshness, the uncompromisingness of EX DRUMMERS appearance. Sex and blood are apparently inseparable in the world of the broken. The border to sexual abuse is quickly crossed and common speech is reduced to vulgarity. A child dies after the mother tries in vain to calm it down with hashish, while a choleric, deaf father watches. “Ex-Father, Ex-Guitarist and Ex-Junkie” he is afterwards cynically called. Just as cynically as pedophiles and incest are later reduced to not too tragic childhood memories.
All that is hidden behind a wall of surrealism. The apartment of lisping vocalist “Koen” is upside down. During the concert the entire audience around Dries collapses as he moves away from the crowd.
And as “Big Dick” shows Dries his wife’s vagina, they are suddenly standing right inside what he calls “Exploaded Rat”.
Director Koen Mortier abstracts the worst of society’s crimes and opinions, including those that stand at the top, mixes them artfully in a way that the general public couldn’t bear, intransigent and merciless, almost unreally and brilliantly makes them reach their high point in a blood bath.

Pictures: "EX DRUMMER" DVD

“Above all a romantic film.” says and hits the nail square on the head.
EX DRUMMER is no social study and no satire. EX DRUMMER is blank cynicism, dark humor, impossible to be darker and with a dead serious message. Controversial, yes, but just as skillful.
“The Feminists” a band consisting of four disabled people, led by a lisping, sexist vocalist, covers the song “Mongoloid“ by DEVO.

“Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid,
happier than you and me.
Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid,
and it determined what he could see,
Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid,
one chromosome too many.“

And that leaves me with no more to say.