|No Trains No Planes (1999)|
Back in the present-day, Stelling chose a second book by Jean-Paul Franssens, Broederweelde, for a loose adaptation. The subject is a man, Gerard, who goes to his regular pub to bid the other patrons farewell. Gerard goes completely unnoticed by the rest of the company, and one sad event follows the next. The emotional low is his rejection by the beautiful Paula, who chooses a German gangster. The sad man only gets attention when he brags about his brother Mario Russo, a popular singer, with whom he is at odds however. This becomes apparent when Mario Russo unexpectedly drops by in the pub.
No Trains No Planes is a typical tragicomedy that only Jos Stelling could make, full of jokes, with a tragic background, and average, but at the same time unusual people. The star of the film is the Belgian actr Gene Bervoets as the crooner Mario Russo. Kees Prins and Ellen ten Damme stand out in their small roles, and Katja Schuurman, who at the time was known only as a soap starlet, makes her debut here in a feature film. Jos Stelling has said that he loves films that end beadly, but still leave you with a good feeling. Gerard’s death at the end of the film is exactly what he means. As usual, Stelling had to go abroad to find an enthusiastic audience. The title of the film provided a funny misunderstanding, that would be right at home in a Jos Stelling film. When the film was sent to a festival, the reels stayed behind at an airport, because customs mistook the title for transportation intstructions: “do not send by train or by plane”. Better just leave it then…
Gerard Dirk van Dijck
Director Jos Stelling