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(aka "Left Bank' or 'Linkeroever" )


directed by Pieter Van Hees
Belgium 2008


Athlete Marie (Eline Kuppens) suffers an strange injury while trying to qualify for the track finals. Unable to run, Marie distracts herself with a relationship with archery guild dean Bobby (Matthias Schoenaerts). She moves into Bobby's Left Bank apartment and discovers that the previous female tenant had disappeared mysteriously. Marie's mother feels bad vibes and believes that the fault line under the building has a malignant effect on the tenants. Going through a box the woman left behind, she discovers that the left bank in medieval times was an area where witches and plague victims were banished and that the apartment building was built over "The White Woman's Pit" a mysterious well where sacrifices took place. The missing woman's boyfriend Dirk (Tom De Wispelaere) becomes suspicious when they discover that the Left Banks oldest archery guild used to offer sacrifices for the festival of Samhain and that their November 1st feast is rapidly approaching.

Despite a tradition of mystery and horror literature, Belgium horror films are a rare thing (rarer in the U.S. apart from Harry Kumel's French-language intriguing MALPERTUIS and his masterful English-language DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS). LEFT BANK has an interesting premise but a rather uninteresting execution. The critical blurb on the cover says "As important as LET THE RIGHT ONE IN... definitely one of the best horror films of the past 10 years" but it does nothing new with the derivative elements (a critical blurb on the back cover says "Think ROSEMARY'S BABY". Here we have, the mysterious fellow tenants, bad vibes, an apartment over a portal, a repeated striking resemblance of a character to people from the historical past, and a heroine who of course isn't worried or suspicious of her boyfriend's connection to the guild (although most audience members will be suspicious as soon as they hear the word "guild" long, long before we learn about its history) and the approaching traditional feast.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 26 March 2008

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DVD Review: IFC Films/MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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IFC Films/MPI Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:42:32

2.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dutch (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: IFC Films/MPI Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.32:1

Edition Details:
• Deleted Scenes (16:9; 15:35; Dutch with English subtitles)
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:02)
• Start-up trailers for FERMAT'S ROOM (16:9; 1:07), THE SKEPTIC (16:9; 2:29), FEAR(S) OF THE DARK (16:9; 1:41) and HOW TO BE (4:3; 1:49)

DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009

Chapters 18



The IFC Films DVD of LEFT BANK presents the film in a progressive, anamorphic transfer and 5.1 audio. The transfer looks good (some low light scenes are a bit frustrating to watch but I think it's annoyingly intentional). The 15 minutes of deleted scenes includes an illuminating bit of dialogue (the only line left in the film "Everyone is lonely, Marie" sounds pretentiously arty and ambiguous without the prior dialogue) as well as one blooper (for a scene that was destined to be cut anyway). Two other unfortunately deleted parts of the scene of Marie's first trip to the apartment building's basement has her catching her shoe in a crack in the floor (the fault line) and a neighbor rearranging her furniture away from over the fault line for a sort of good Fung Shui.

Strangely, the combined feature, extras, menus, and start-up trailers only fill up 4.76 GB of a dual-layer disc. The Dutch import DVD also has the deleted scenes. It also has a making-of featurette not reproduced here. While the import has English and French subtitles for the feature, I am not sure if the subtitles extend to the deleted scenes (as they do on the IFC DVD).

 - Eric Cotenas


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IFC Films/MPI Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC



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