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Film installation, single screen, runtime 23 minutes, all rights reserved, 2015

in collaboration with Egle Budvytyte  [credits]

The linear, single-screen film In the Absence of Miracles is a fantasy-roadmovie, in which a cast, looking like it walked off a Disney-set, is paired with derailment, irony and a subtle form of aggression. 

A family of five sets off at dusk, to travel somewhere by car, but soon gets lost. A man with a fish-mask on is to show them the way and enters the car, but, stranded again, on a wasteland the family is attacked by old people wearing masks from the film Casablanca.

The fishman is about to get sacrificed in a bonfire, there is an intermezzo with karate in a forest, and the youngest daughter seems to be lured into hallucination by potted plants on the road, whispering lines from anti-psychiatrist R.D.Laing–before the fishman dies and is ceremoniously placed on the soil.

The next morning, two naked people approach the car begging for food and water and take the place of the children on the back seat, until they convince the whole family to get out of the car and walk the last stretch instead. 

The film–in which everything is slightly disjointed–is oozing with opaque symbolism and innuendo, while referring to (right-wing) fantasies about a threatening other inhabiting the degraded urban landscape. The family in their car experiences a kind of nightmare, of the derailment of Hollywood fantasies–not by radical events or action, but rather, because artificiality looms large and any build-up towards denouement or catharsis is pre-emptively avoided. 

Although the visual language of the work is reactionary, its subtle, absurdist confusion harbours its true politics. Shot in Brussels, the film rejects European right-wing populism as a perverted fantasy. The opening shot, showing a reader titled REVOLUTION, precludes the triumph of the two naked people at the end, who sardonically come to disturb the handsome family's fantasy.    


Michelle                         Cherise Silvestri

Martin                           Jan-Willem van Ewijk

Eleonor                          Josune Menendez

Bruce                            Jaime Menendez

Leonie                           Marien Menendez

Fishman                          Kurt Vandendriessche

Woman                            Alice Martins

Man                              Benjamin Bertrand 

Humphrey                         Kobus Kortmann

Sam                              Heny Rene

written and directed by          Bart Groenendaal

                                 Egle Budvytyte

Director of Photography          Artur Freire Castro

Gaffer                           Jeremy Bourgeois 

Production sound mixer           Jean-Noel Boissé

Casting                          Egle Budvytyte                                  

                                 Bart Groenendaal

Editor                           Bart Groenendaal

Sound design                     Rokas Kucinskas

Art/ Costume                     Goda Budvytyte

                                 Bart Groenendaal

                                 Egle Budvytyte

Production assisistants          Alex Reynolds

                                Jasper Groenendaal  


Driver                           Monica Stricker    

Thanks to:                       CAC Vilnius

All rights reserved, Bart Groenendaal / Egle Budvytyte 2015