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A Story That Is As Timely As Ever

Mascot (Mascotte)


Genre: Drama
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 40m
Director(s): Remy van Heugten
Writer(s): Gustaaf Peek
Cast: Liam Jeans, Maartje Remmers, Leopold Witte, Geert van Rampelberg, Frederike van Oordt, Mouad Nineb, Joes Brauers
Where To Watch: 2023 Slamdance Film Festival Premiere. Screen this and more at Slamdance Film Festival

RAVING REVIEW: This film displays many of modern society's issues with how “men” are viewed and their expectations of them. At the same time, the film hides these themes within that of a young man just now coming into his own and learning what it takes to be one.

The latest film by Remy van Heugten, MASCOT, delves deeply into the intricacies of masculinity and its potential for destruction. The Netherlands/Belgium co-production follows the journey of a young man who grapples with abandonment by his father and the complexities of his relationship with his mother. As he struggles to navigate these challenges and understand the nuances of his emotions, he turns to the streets to release his pent-up rage and find a sense of purpose.

At first glance, the protagonist may seem like a typical teenager, living with his single mother and sister in a small coastal town and working at an institution for the mentally disabled. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that beneath the surface lies a mixed bag of frustration and anger. As his mother distances herself from the family, he becomes increasingly isolated, and his behavior becomes increasingly radical, putting not only himself but also his entire family's stability at risk.

MASCOT expertly interweaves multiple themes, including toxic masculinity, the creation of incels, and the complexities of rage. It is a powerful and thought-provoking examination of the human condition and a testament to the director's skill and sensitivity. This film is particularly relevant in light of recent events. It serves as a reminder of the dangers of unbridled anger and frustration, such as the case of Andrew Tate and his recent arrest in Romania.

Remy van Heugten has established himself as a filmmaker to watch with a keen eye for the complexities of the human experience. His graduation film, ABOUT ROSES, was nominated for the Student Academy Awards. In 2015, he won the Golden Calf Award for 'best director' at the Netherlands Film Festival for his feature film GLUCKAUF. MASCOT solidifies van Heugten's place as a socially engaged artist who is not afraid to tackle heavy themes with sensitivity and skill.

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[photo courtesy of BIND]