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Born to Film

Director: Frederic Sojcher

FRANCE| 2004| FRENCH W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES| COLOUR| 66 MINS


Slim in breadth and length, but fat with hefty laughs, the documentary Born to Film pays affectionate homage to three amateur Belgian directors who refuse to let a lack of financing or talent keep them from taking up the megaphone. Helmer Frederic Sojcher (Regarde-Moi) fortunately has a surer grasp on technique as well as a goodeye for detail, but never patronises subjects, whose efforts make the likes of Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space look like Citizen Kane.
Portly Max Naveaux, now retired, used to have a day job working as a projectionist at the Exploration du Monde theater. Since the 1960s he has made several war films with casts of tens, such as Hell Patrol (1960), mostly shot on sandy vacant lots in his suburban hometown. Retired schoolteacher Jacques Hardy, from Vise, is more of a genre dabbler, and has tried his hand at detective movies, pastichesof popular comic-strip ‘Asterix’ set in ancient Gaul (catchily titled ‘Cesar Babarius in Southern Belgium’), and medieval horror films such as ‘A Priest in the Land of Witches.’
However, by far the most peculiar of the lot is Courcelles-based Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a former mason who insists on wearing a ski maskthroughout the film to preserve his anonymity, and because he believes ‘the camera steals your soul.’ While it captures its subjects in all their megalomaniacal glory, Sojcher’s treatment of them is deeply respectful, emphasizing their passion for their work and the camaraderie of collaboration.

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