Three films, three genres, one universe, six characters and no money. European cinema has been longing for a work that can push boundaries while attracting a popular following. And TRILOGY may well be it. We chat to its director Lucas Belvaux, profile the second part’s star Ornella Muti and ask what on this earth possessed the Flemish master to create such a remarkable work. Words: Paul Dale

ats talk to me. I)ogs too. They tell me that when I leave

my house in the morning a whole drama unfolds in my

front room. They tell me the postman lets himself in and watches videos from my couch. Junkies use the fiat for their shenanigans. yet when I return at night. nothing is touched. nothing has been moved. apart perhaps from my paranoia. It is impossible to know what really goes on when we close the door on our domestic lives to pursue the mundane and the ridiculous elsewhere. but writers. filmmakers and artists have always tried to join the dots that lead us to the possibility of complete perception.

A new film trilogy by Belgian actor/director Lucas Belvaux is the latest in a long and honourable tradition of films and novels that deviate from linear methods of depicting time and narrative. Three separate movies lilrned using widely different genres. they overlap and intenveave different views of the same events. Belvaux‘s films were originally released as ()n the Run. An Amazing ( imp/c and After Lil? but they have been renamed for British release as simply ()m‘. Two and Three.

There are many precedents to this approach: Akira Kurosawa's Ray/roman. and Lawrence l)urrell's Alexandria

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Quarry! come to mind but for Belvaux there is only one daddy who set him on the road to madness and excess. 'ln these films only Honore de Balzac is my influence.’ Belvaux breaks off to talk to his translator. A surprisingly diminutive. thin and intense man in his early 40s. Belvaux is from l’rench Belgium. and the fractured sentences tumble from him with a yokel grate.

‘ln Balzac's ('(mrr'r/iv Humaim'. a series that embraces 80 novels played over 150 years. one character in one book is a secondary character in another. It creates a world. a society of genius. For instance. in one short story there is a very bad painter who wants all the riches of the court and society he wants to be part of the bourgeoisie. He eventually achieves this. but he also happens to be a very generous man. helping his artistic friends who are infinitely more gifted than him. so his own work is surpassed and generally ignored. We flash forward to a later short story by Balzac and there is a description of another bourgeois house in which he describes a painting on the wall. which is the painting of the bad painter by one of his talented friends. It is these connections between the author and the reader that Balzac makes throughout his body of work.‘

It is perhaps arrogant to align your own work (namely three films destined to play in arthouses and the smaller screens of the more progressive multiplexes) with possibly the greatest