The Wall

Made for the French TV series "2000 Seen By," this 1998 feature by Alain Berliner uses the long-simmering antagonism between the Flemings and the Walloons in Belgium as the premise for a cautionary parable. On the eve of the millennium, an enormous wall divides Brussels between the Flemings to the north and the Walloons to the south. Caught almost literally in the middle is Albert, the good-natured owner of a chips stand; Berliner gives him a Flemish love interest, casting the two as a farcical Romeo and Juliet, and the film's campy moments and musical interludes recall Berliner's earlier hit My Life in Pink. But the director is equally intent on conjuring up a tone of Kafkaesque nightmare, and like the characters' competing tongues, the reconciliation between whimsy and terror proves elusive.

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