The House by the Canal is a
made-for-Belgian-TV drama starring Isild Le Besco. She plays Edmee, a 16-year old girl
suddenly orphaned when her father dies. She moves to the boonies to live with her uncle on his farm, but when she arrives, he too
is dying. His oldest son, who shared his
father's passion for prostitutes, becomes the man of the house, determined to
make sure Edmee knows her place. His younger brother, a hunchback, is fond of Edmee.
Up to this point, I thought I understood the plot: Edmee wasn't happy in
the sticks, she resented her older cousin trying to control her, and sought
refuge with the dim-witted hunchback.
Then the plot got going in earnest, and I no longer had a grasp of what the
film was trying for. What follows will be complete spoilers.
Edmee does the deed with her obnoxious cousin on a wood pile. Voluntarily? Who
knows. If someone told
me is was rape, or it was her idea, I would believe either
story. Then a little kid jumps out and makes fun of them. The cousin kills the
kid accidentally, whereupon he and the hunchback bury the kid. Edmee responds by getting
tuberculosis, which leads her into a meeting with a rich uncle who is even a bigger whoremonger
than her obnoxious cousin. Then she agrees to marry her obnoxious
cousin, but asks the hunchback to strangle her on her wedding day.
He, of course, lovingly obliges.
I find myself drawn in by Isild Le Besco, with her pouty mouth and "me first" attitude. She has a lovely
body, and has shown a willingness to share it, but even given nudity from a
favorite, this film has no
fascination for me. There was probably a point to it, but somehow it didn't
survive the translation to subtitles.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a very low