A dark pastiche that pays tribute to such 1970's classics as Deliverance (hostile gun-toting locals), and Straw Dogs (an isolated house under siege) Calvaire is a wonderfully atmospheric piece of Belgian backwoods terror. An astute exercise in surrealism, and a distinctly urbanised reflection on country bumpkin mentality, whilst Calvaire might not be the most original of productions, what it does bring to the table is a decidedly unique take on rejection, isolation, and insane infatuation. With a story that revolves around the unfortunate stranding of an entertainer in the Belgian countryside (and his subsequent imprisonment by a demented hotelier) Calvaire throws up some rather unique insights into the vast - often disturbed - human psyche. Less visceral than the current crop of French horrors, (but no less unsettling in its absence) where Calvaire raises the bar is through the curious relationship of its two pivotal players. Honouring requests for a private performance, Marc unwittingly triggers the old man's resentment towards a wife that has long since abandoned him. Convinced that she has returned in the form of his unfortunate guest, Bartel ensures the singers presence by sabotaging his van and adroitly rendering him unconscious. Bound to a chair and dressed in the absent woman's clothing, Marc's physical and psychological torture begins earnest. Taking into account the Neanderthal countenance of the ensemble (all male) cast, as the clean cut outsider, it is Marc who becomes the film's feminine aspect. Now a surrogate wife for the clearly unbalanced Bartel, it isn't long before he attracts by far more 'unwanted' attention. An offbeat production populated by characters that wouldn't look out of place in an asylum, Calvaire is a consummate example of Belgian avant garde.