17 June 2013


Sometimes a film can take you aback, quite simply. Helena is one of the cleverest and most touching short films I have ever seen.  The eponymous heroine is a Flemish school teacher who lives with her husband Roger.  You might think at first sight everything looks fine – they make a handsome couple – yet Roger seems almost immediately something of a controlling bully. Moreover, Helena is troubled by visions of discord which wake her from her slumber at night and seem to intrude on her waking hours too.  Central is the photograph in its shattered glass frame of the day Roger proposed to her.  She steadily descends in to a condition approaching paranoia.

I have to say I didn’t see the denouement coming and I won’t give it away.  However, I will say that you may need to have a handkerchief nearby although the film thankfully avoids any kind of schmaltz. Helena is, at its heart, a simple tale of enduring love told in a rather complicated way.  It was written by Joachim Huveneers and Wesley Versteeg and also directed by the latter.  It stars Catherine Kools, Karel Tuytschaever, Marilou Mermans and Frans Maas. And it's wonderful.