When a small Belgium town holds its annual festival to chase away winter with a bonfire, the citizens find it impossible to light their ample kindling. But stranger things await the town in The Fifth Season, a gorgeously filmed gem by husband and wife directors Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth.
Using mainly non-actors, The Fifth Season shows what happens to an agricultural community when Mother Nature stops her season cycle. Seeds won’t germinate, cows stop producing milk, bees die and the once-strong townsfolk shift their energy to the search for a scapegoat as the bizarre year progresses.
Brosens and Woodworth have strong eyes for dazzling, natural compositions – which are mainly shot in a static but by no means non-dynamic manner. And their casting of what seems to be real Belgium villagers makes for potent realism in the midst of their subdued visual surrealism.
The Fifth Season is at times funny, nerve-racking, dreamy and terrifying. But consistently it is thought provoking, as we all must ponder the reality of our planet’s uncertain ecological trajectory.
The Fifth Season plays at St. Anthony Main Theater tonight at 9:25 p.m. and on April 22 at 7:10 p.m.
Other Highlights: Tuesday, April 16
White Tiger. The White Tiger is the name of the Nazi’s deadliest tank in WWII – and a Russian tank driver is on a mission to take it down. (9:45 p.m.; also showing April 20 at 11 a.m.)
The Tragedy of Man. An animated movie that was 30 years in the making, Tragedy features Adam, Eve and Lucifer traveling through the past and future as they reflect on mankind. (6:15 p.m.; also showing April 19 at 12:40 p.m.)
The Attack. A Palestinian doctor living in Tel Aviv seeks answers from West Bank militants after he’s directly affected by a suicide bombing. (7:15 p.m.; also showing April 21 at 9:30 p.m.)
Throughout the entirety of the 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, we’ll be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.