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Film Reviews Review: Violet follows the existential drama of teenage BMX bikers

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Violet
Written by
Bas Devos
Directed by
Bas Devos
Starring
Cesar De Sutter
Country
Belgium/Netherlands
Language
Flemish/Dutch
Year
2017

It might be annoying, but occasionally you cannot discuss one film without bringing up another. The history of the medium is relatively short, so influences abound, some more inescapable than others.

Such is the case with Violet, the debut feature from Belgian filmmaker Bas Devos, which carries the cinematic DNA of Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park. That latter film – quiet, enigmatic, haunting – followed the exploits of bored teenage skaters in America skirting the boundaries of adulthood and the violent trauma of adolescence; Violet focuses on bored teenage BMX bikers in Belgium faced with essentially the same existential drama. The similarities shouldn't be interpreted as a knock of Devos, though – Van Sant's influence clearly looms large, but Violet acts as more than its own artistic statement.

At times alternately surreal, raw and serene, Devos's work will linger just as long as Van Sant's – a fact that's all the more scarily impressive considering it's his first film. Violet will remind you of the past, but, for Devos, it also points the way toward an exciting future.

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