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The making of Valentijn

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Valentijn by Samuel Faict (Belgium) won a 4-star award at BIAFF 2008

Starting With Suspense

Still from 'Valentijn'.From the very beginning my film is full of suspense. It is based on a story, an urban legend.

A lady has run out of petrol and she stops her car at an isolated garage. The service man looks very strange. Without explanation he tries to tug the lady out of her car, but she resists. Afterwards we learn that he only wanted to protect her because in the backseat of the vehicle there is a man with a knife. Eventually the lady is killed. But why? I tried to expand and develop the story in my own way.

Still from 'Valentijn'.I found inspiration in a crazy Flemish comic. The principal character is a man called Urban. His mother dies on the wind vane of a church. Her organs are transplanted in the bodies of other women. Urban calls God and asks him if his Mum can rise from the dead. God tells him that every organ must die first. This story gave me some ideas to use in Valentijn.

So it has become a story about a man who comes back to collect all his organs. They have been taken out of his body in a wrongful way.

Still from 'Valentijn'.I gave every character a special role:
  • Valentine is the man who comes back to collect his organs.
  • His heart is in Richard's body, the only survivor, who is obsessed by the thought that Valentine is a murderer.
  • The doctor does everything to save his daughter. He doesn't mind that someone is being killed because he can use the organs for
  • his daughter who is very ill.
  • The mother is a religious extremist. She even kills her own son because according to her belief he has become "unclean" now. He was given new blood!
Still from 'Valentijn'.This last thing is based on an event that really happened in a family of Jehovah's witnesses. They were climbing in the mountains. Their child had an accident. A blood transfusion was urgent, but the parents refused. The guide knocked down the father and mother. He helped the child with his first aid kit and gave new blood. Afterwards they didn't want their child anymore. The transfusion was against their beliefs. People have told me that Jehovah's witnesses don't worship icons. They think it is a mistake that in my film the mother's house has many crosses and so on. But I am not referring to a particular religious group. In the film I only mean to indicate people with extreme religious beliefs in general.
Still from 'Valentijn'.Still from 'Valentijn'.In my film I sought to clarify the real feelings of the woman, the mother, in a special way. She remembers everything very clearly. Flashes of scenes of today suddenly change into scenes from the past. In this way I ensure that the viewer will sympathise with the mother.

In my story Richards ends up in the house of Valentine's mother… in the spider's web.

At the very end of the story both Richard and the audience understand what had really happened. I maintained the tension until the very last moment.

Feedback is Essential

Behind the scenes on 'Valentijn'.Still from 'Valentijn'.This is my first major film and I learnt quite a lot. Every detail was important to me and I was very critical when working out the story.

I worked on the scenario for six months. It was a period of writing and rewriting all the time. I think it is necessary to give your scenario to at least two different people for comment and to listen to them. Feedback is very essential.

A great film crew is also very important. I am very grateful to them. I would have never been able to make this film without their help and their ideas.

- Samuel Faict

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Page updated on 07 October 2011
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