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COOL!
Showing Friday 7th October | 21:40
Country The Netherlands
Run Time 89 mins
Format 35mm
Director Theo van Gogh
Producer

Gijs van de Westelaken

Screenplay Theo van Gogh, Gijs van de Westelaken
Featuring Fouad Mourigh, Farhane El Hamchaoui, Jones Kruijne
Website www.highpointfilms.com
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In 2004 director Theo van Gogh was murdered by Islamic extremists, shot and stabbed as he cycled to work. Cool! was the penultimate film he completed, a highly individual, sometimes baffling, hip-hop infused story of delinquent youth. Seven teenage friends fill their days pulling off minor robberies, playing pool and rapping gangsta influenced paeans to thug life. Then charismatic local gang leader Prof (Johnny de Mol) involves them in a failed bank heist. Caught and convicted, the five are packed off to a special correctional facility, the Glen Mills School, an experimental institution designed to re-educate, rather than simply incarcerate. Shot handheld in only twelve days with students of the real institution in lead roles, the film is kinetic, fresh, and direct. Despite the cinema verité touches, however, this is a stylised piece, playful and witty but also serious minded, throwing up questions about immigrant alienation, the urge to rebel, social brainwashing and the influence of US style gangster culture. Van Gogh also extracts excellent performances from his youthful cast, in particular de Mol, all controlled, smiling menace. Dutch pop star Katja Schurman, a veteran of van Gogh’s earlier Interview also impresses as the love interest. Bearing comparison to von Trier but wholly sui generis, Cool! is a poignant reminder of a tragic loss to cinema. EB
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