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Peter van den Begin and Barbara Sarafian star in 'Everybody Happy', Nic Balthazar's new film about a stand-up comedian who struggles to get past his own demons | © Eyeworks Film & TV Drama
Peter van den Begin and Barbara Sarafian star in 'Everybody Happy', Nic Balthazar's new film about a stand-up comedian who struggles to get past his own demons | © Eyeworks Film & TV Drama

What They’re Watching In Belgium This Fall

Picture of Nana Van De Poel
Updated: 18 October 2016
Both the silver and the smaller screen are gearing up for the leaves to start falling in Belgium. While big name directors are releasing their long-awaited new films into theaters, television shows with ingenious premises and Jan Eelen’s hit fiction series about a group of over-the-top gigolos entertain those snuggled up on the couch.

Television series:

Sorry voor alles

Have you ever wondered, during a particularly weird week or month, if some evil deity might be behind it all, then shrugged off the thought? If you were one of the victims of an amazingly intricate new Belgian show, you’d sort of be right. Thought up by a student for his master’s thesis at the RITSC school and presented by lovable comic Adriaan van den Hoof – who has, of course, opened himself up to revenge actions – Sorry voor alles (‘Sorry for everything’) upends the world of innocent, regular Flemings when they find out on live television that their entire last month has been a web of lies, facilitated by everyone from their moms to their girlfriends and husbands. How about attending the wedding of friends whose ‘I dos’ were completely fake? Or going to the movies and seeing comic William Boeva taking a dive in your own hot tub during the commercials?

Callboys

When Jan Eelen stands up with a new fiction series – one called Callboys of all things – you better pay attention. Three episodes in and it’s already clear that the director of some of the most legendary hilarious Flemish shows such as In de Gloria and Het Eiland has again distilled lightning in a bottle. And with lightning, we mean the acting chops of Rik Verheye, Matteo Simoni, Stef Aerts and Bart Hollanders, the FC Bergman quartet that Eelen had in mind when writing his show about three rather dense gigolos and one jack of all trades, who – spoiler alert – might be on his way to becoming a bona fide part of the humping squad as well.

Wat Als?

Its second season in 2013 swept up the awards: an International Emmy, a Gouden Roos, a golden medal at the World Media Festival in Hamburg – the list goes on. Now, the lauded comedy show Wat Als? (‘What If?’) is finally back after a long hiatus to again treat Belgians to sketches in which one crucial fact in the real world has shifted. What if Barbie was a real woman, for example? Or everyone thought like a pigeon? Or Facebook already existed in the Middle Ages? Joining the fixed cast this season are Matteo Callboys Simoni and 27-year-old Charlotte Timmers, who previously had a role on the drama series Vermist.

Films:

Everybody Happy

Make them laugh. That’s what the life of stand-up comedian Ralph Hartman is all about in Everybody Happyuntil it’s suddenly not, and it’s getting harder to ignore the voice droning on inside his head. Nic Balthazar of Ben X fame has teamed up with veteran actor Peter van den Begin to tell the story of a celebrated guy on the top of a cutthroat business’ food pyramid who’s about to step off the ledge. The film recently had the honor of opening the Ostend Film Festival.

Everybody Happy is in Belgian theaters from September 28th.

De Premier

In theaters by the end of October, a lot would have to happen to make De Premier anything less than a hit. Its pedigree is impressive even before its release. At the helm stands Erik Van Looy, the mastermind behind De Zaak Alzheimer and De Loft, both sweeping blockbuster hits of the kind previously thought impossible for a Flemish film. For his screenplay, the director could count on the help of Carl Joos and Robin Pront, with the latter recently sending in his debut feature D’Ardennen as the Belgian pick for Academy Award consideration. Frequent Van Looy collaborator Koen de Bouw will be heading the cast as the Belgian prime minister who’s being forced to assassinate the American president in a suspense thriller of epic scale.

De Premier will be in Belgian theaters from October 26th.

Vincent

Christophe Van Rompaey places a 17-year-old do-gooder at the center of the follow-up to his lauded debut Aanrijding in Moscou. Eco-warrior Vincent has been born with an innate sense of justice towards the planet and believes that ‘people only wake up when someone sacrifices himself,’ a conviction that leads to multiple suicide attempts and many familial struggles. Barbara Sarafian reeled in the Boccalino d’Oro Prize for Best Actress at the Locarno Film Festival for her role in the dramedy as Marianne, Vincent’s overbearing powerhouse mother.

Vincent is playing in Belgian theaters now.