When it comes to the powerhouses of global film-making Belgium would not be at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Indeed, I would guess that most people would struggle to name half a dozen films which hail from the low county. Outside of the more recent work of the Dardenne Brothers, you’d be struggling to find many releases which have made an impact on mainstream cinema. However, there are a number of more offbeat films which have been much more successful and influential. Toto the Hero fits nicely into this category.
Thomas (Thomas Godet) is obsessed with a fictional secret agent, Toto, and adopts his name; determined to grow up like him. His overarching quest is to expose the huge injustice done to him as a baby. There was a fire at the hospital and he’s convinced that he was swapped with Alfred (Hugo Harold-Harrison), who grows up in a rich family. Toto dedicates his life to righting this injustice and the myriad misfortunes he has suffered as a consequence.
Whilst far from proficient, Jaco Van Dormael has amassed a small yet very curious filmography, including the wonderful Brand New Testament and the award-winning The Eighth Day. The former Circus performer made his feature debut with Toto the Hero. It’s a film which delves deeply into childhood imagination, employing a number of clever and innovative devices to travels through time. Toto is an unreliable narrator and as he looks back through his life it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between fact, memory and reality. It’s a fun and imaginative film.
Special edition contents:
- High definition digital transfer
- Original Uncompressed mono audio
- Newly translated optional English subtitles
- Memories of Hero – an extensive documentary on the making of Toto featuring members of the cast and crew
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jon Towlson
Toto the Hero is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 3 August.