The Mask

Director: Johan van der Keuken
Year Released: 1989
Rating: 2.0

One of Keuken's simpler films, this short documentary follows around a homeless Parisian who goes through his daily routine of working as a waiter, chatting with friends and sleeping in a train station. Though it doesn't go much into detail regarding politics in France, the country's handling of its homeless problem or the French government's actual stance towards its immigrants (the picture suggests that they don't get a fair deal, either, but some of the men interviewed strongly disagree), the inherent sadness of the situation is palpable, and the need for the homeless man to 'appear' to be a part of society by wearing a suit is pitiable (at least in semi-softies like me). It is never established why the man, who has a job and earns some kind of income, cannot afford an apartment or at least share one with others - and since he doesn't drink or shop or eat much, what does he spend the money he does earn on? - but Keuken's style is always one to never divulge too much information, which, depending on the viewer, is either liberating or infuriating.