Kind Hearts

Kind Hearts

Billie and Lucas, a young Brussels couple, both leave for university facing a year rife with change. Visions of the future, doubts about relationships and the expectations of adult life make up the main material for their conversations with friends and each other. Kind Hearts paints a candid portrait of the formative but also uncertain facets of every (first) love.


“For Kind Hearts, we did not set out to make a documentary ‘about’ love, but instead wanted to take a look at a love affair in the concrete, depicting meeting points between the two lovers Billie and Lucas. The experience of love is closely linked to the experience of narrative; in our minds, we recreate love as an adventure. This notion of love as construction is also reflected in the form of the film, characterised by its ambivalent place between staging and documentary. For us, working on a film is always a matter of attention, care and concentration, both in its choice of form and in its relationship to people and places. Kind Hearts’s ambition is to adopt a loving gaze at how these two lovers relate to the world and each other.”

Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes


Nina de Vroome: Kind Hearts focuses on Billie and Lucas’s relationship. The couple is faced with the choice of what they will study after high school. While much is changing in their lives, they wonder how their relationship will evolve. The film begins at a crossroads in their lives. What was the starting point for this film?

Olivia Rochette: It started with Grands travaux. In one scene, Barry, one of the Anneessens-Funck pupils, calls his girlfriend and a touching dialogue ensues. Using almost clichéd but at the same time disarming language, he tries to put his feelings into words. Speaking, trying to get closer to a loved one through words, was the seed for Kind Hearts.

Gerard-Jan Claes: The starting point was the desire to “film” a love story, without actors and a classic scenario, portrayed in a documentary film. The love story is of course iconic and recognisable, and it is connected with an entire spectrum of known formats and forms. Kind Hearts also started from a fascination for the way love is portrayed in films, soap operas, pop music and stories, how it is portrayed within a larger whole.

Rochette: So the beginning was quite abstract, a “documentary about love”. The next step was to look for characters and more specifically a couple. We attended classes in different schools in Brussels for a few weeks. We interviewed some pupils about their lives and their perspective on relationships. Then we organised camera tests to see how they related to the camera, how they could become an image. Finally, we decided to continue with Billie and Lucas.

Nina de Vroome in conversation with Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes1


Nina de Vroome: Kind Hearts focust op de liefdesrelatie van Billie en Lucas. Het koppel staat voor de keuze van een vervolgstudie na hun middelbare school. Terwijl er veel verandert in hun leven, vragen ze zich af hoe hun relatie zal evolueren. De film begint op een kruispunt in hun leven. Wat was het vertrekpunt voor deze film?

Olivia Rochette: Het begon bij Grands travaux. In een scène belt Barry, een van de leerlingen van Anneessens-Funck, naar zijn vriendin en ontspint er zich een ontroerende dialoog. Met een bijna clichématig, maar tegelijk ontwapenend taalgebruik probeert hij zijn gevoelens onder woorden te brengen. Het spreken, via woorden toenadering zoeken tot een geliefde, vormde de kiem voor Kind Hearts.

Gerard-Jan Claes: Het vertrekpunt was het verlangen om een liefdesverhaal te “verfilmen”, zonder acteurs en een klassiek scenario, verbeeld in een documentairefilm. Het liefdesverhaal is natuurlijk iconisch en herkenbaar, en is verbonden met een heel spectrum aan gekende formats en vormen. Kind Hearts vertrok ook vanuit een fascinatie voor de manier waarop liefde verbeeld wordt in films, soaps, popmuziek en verhalen, hoe het verbeeld wordt binnen een groter geheel.

Nina de Vroome in gesprek met Olivia Rochette en Gerard-Jan Claes2


“As I enjoyed this film already while watching it, some hours later when I recall it, it even appears more beautiful and rich and it is hard to believe that the film is less than 90 minutes long. Cinema is not always only about what it reveals, sometimes it is also about options, potentials. Kind Hearts by Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes seems to lead after the watching a life on its own, an echo which can be left on you after watching a film by Yasujiro Ozu or Eric Rohmer.”

Rüdiger Tomczak3

UPDATED ON 15.03.2022