Dagen Zonder Lief (for non-natives: Days without a girlfriend) is the new Felix van Groeningen movie. For those in the dark: he’s that guy that made Steve+Sky, one of those “young and hip”movies everyone keeps talking about. Well, rest assured, after seeing Dagen Zonder Lief, no one will ever be talking about Steve+Sky again!

Without going into detail, one could say that the story revolves around old friends getting back together, with mixed feelings this might involve. On top of that, the only female characters are called Kelly (refered to as Blonde Kelly and Zwarte Kelly – even though the latter ironically dyed her hair blonde) and you know you’re in for one crazy ride. The movie’s not big on events – just like Steve+Sky, by the way – but gives you a certain mood, a feeling of times long gone.

About halfway through the movie, it hit me. I’m not sure whether I ever said so on this blog, but the tragic comedy genre seemed long gone to me. It appeared dead, and I wanted Vlaams Filmpje to bring a nice salute to that dinosaur of a genre. Emotional stories, not high on exciting events, but very recognizable to everyone. One laughs along with the characters, one cries when they cry, one bleeds when they bleed (metaphorically speaking, I hope)…

But it’s not dead. Dagen Zonder Lief proved that the genre still lives on, and I’m happy that I’m not the only one trying to find balance between the world of exciting, fast-paced thriller stories and the world of dramatic “my husband stole my child that happens to have autism (because child autism is the most lovable handicap!)” saturday night TV movie. Van Groeningen balances this quite nicely through a fancy, artsy way of filming, and a nice, relaxing yet dramatic storyline. You won’t regret spending your money to go see this one.


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