A film by Govinda Van Maele, 2017

Genre: Suspens

Languages: German, Luxembourgish

Subtitles: French

Duration: 95 min

Countries: Luxembourg, Allemagne, Belgique

Year: 2017



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On a summer morn, a young man, with a secret stashed away in a duffel bag, emerges from the forest. In a nearby village he asks around for work, but the farmers, suspicious to the point of hostility, are not very forthcoming. Only when Lucy, the mayor’s unruly daughter, takes a liking to him, does the village change its attitude: he is promptly offered a job as a farmhand and a caravan to live in.

As time passes and he is gradually integrated into the community, it appears that he’s not the only one with a past to hide. Something sinister is lurking under the immaculate surface of this picturesque little world – and it is slowly drawing him in.



Written and directed by Govinda Van Maele


Producers: Gilles Chanial, Melanie Blocksdorf, Olivier Dubois

Image: Narayan Van Maele

Editing: Stefan Stabenow

Original Music: Mocke

Decors: Audrey Hernu

Costumes: Natasha Francotte

Sound: Thomas Grimm-Landsberg, Roland Voglaire, Fabien Pochet, Philippe Charbonnel


Cast :


Frederic Lau, Vicky Krieps, Marco Lorenzini, Leo Folschette, Martine Kohn, Gérard Blaschette, Irina Blanaru, Christiane Hoffmann…




TIFF Toronto International Film Festival, Discovery Section - World Premiere

Tokyo International Film Festival, Main Competition - Asian Premiere

39th Cairo International Film Festival - African Premiere

Palm Springs International Film Festival, World Cinema Now Section

Premiers Plans Angers, Main Competition - European Premiere

Filmfestival Max Öphuls Preis, Saarbrücken, Germany - Main Competition - German Premiere

Rotterdam International Film Festival, Bright Future Section, Netherlands - Dutch Premiere

Luxembourg City International Film Festival - Official Competition - Luxembourg

Chicago European Union Film Festival 2018, USA





“A stranger wends through twilit wheat fields in the exquisite opening moments of Govinda Van Maele’s fiction feature debut [starring Phantom Thread’s Vicky Krieps] … By the following morning he’s courted by an elder who finds him a gig and lodging—and then Gutland quietly maunders from folktale to pastoral noir to Polanskiesque uncanny and, finally, back to folk tale. Call it a ‘village film,’ with an eerie ambiance of secrets, insularity and sinister solidarity.”

José Teodoro / FILM COMMENT


“A man with a secret hides out in a place with a secret in this intriguing debut from Luxembourg.  […] Handsomely shot on 35mm, the photography has a pleasing visual rhythm. The frame is frequently carved into sections: by reflections, by the frame of a bus stop and, in one of the most chilling sequences, by rows of maize in which Jens finds himself threatened. The same landscape, shot at different times of the day, and the season, takes on an unknowably mercurial character. And the country nights are fringed with the kind of inky darkness that could swallow a character whole, like the slurry pit which provides such an ominous motif throughout the picture.”



“[Gutland] fascinatingly blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the eerie intro all the way through to a surprise finale that raises goosebumps. […] The scariest run through a cornfield since Cary Grant outraced a plane in North by Northwest.”



“[Gutland] recalls The Stepford Wives by way of David Lynch, but replaces any struggle between good and evil with evil’s unchecked prevalence. Bad men become redeemable as good people prove to be monsters. And before it’s over we’re left to wonder if two wrongs do make a right. This duplicity is necessary for success and a credit to Van Maele’s handle on his aesthetic. There’s something about the pastoral calm of farmland hiding dark emotional secrets that excels.”