The Treatment

Not available for screening anymore

The Treatment (De Behandeling)

Directed by Hans Herbots

  • Belgium 2014; 127 min
  • Original version: Flemish
  • Genre: Thriller
    • Best Feature Length Film Award - Sitges IFF


From the outside, the life of inspector Nick Cafmeyer seems ideal: he's good-looking, smart and has a promising career on the police force. But his entire being is tormented by a traumatic event: the disappearance of his brother when they where both kids. An unsolved crime with a shadow that reappears in the new case he has to investigate.

Director's Statement

A few years ago, when Carl Joos and I were exploring ideas about collaborating on a project, he told me about a novel called “The Treatment,” by Mo Hayder. I was intrigued by the story he recounted, but even more so by his fascination with it. In later discussions, we often returned to the themes broached in "The Treatment": the dark side of human nature, how to deal with post-traumatic emotions and feelings. Guilt, anger, heartrending choices and a main character who is searching for his place in life while overwhelmed by reality. A few years went by. Hardworking years. I directed the feature film BO, and was at the helm of two television series “The Divine Monster” and “The Spiral.” In those years I also encountered great changes in my private life. I had to make several, at times heartbreaking choices: Traumatizing events, feelings of guilt, I was someone trying to find myself. So when Peter Bouckaert brought up the possibility of directing THE TREATMENT again, it was as if the pieces of the puzzle were all falling into place.

The screenplay is built around an ingenious plot and tackles themes that every one of us sooner or later has to face in life. It’s this hidden side to the story, concealed by the codes of the thriller genre that fascinated me. Nick’s attempts to mask his doubts and his struggles with demons from his past are matters that are particularly close to my heart. I had wanted to work with Geert Van Rampelberg for a very long time; his work both in cinema and on stage intrigues me. He has appeared in the feature films HOTEL SWOONI and TIME OF MY LIFE among others. Geert - who won the Ensor award for Best Actor last year – is the master of dark quests, yet he is always able to keep the story accessible to the general public. In the stage play “Niets Is Onmogelijk” (Nothing is Impossible), for example, he delivered an open and compelling performance of a character with a tormented soul. Geert is once again interpreting a contradiction-fraught character - a gifted, ambitious and apparently normal policeman who underneath is a man eaten away by immense grief, someone who can never find peace. Sorrow hinders him from moving forward in a seemingly ordinary life. Sorrow hinders him from having normal relationships. And sorrow, even when things seem to be going for the best, sends him reeling with self-doubt. On top of his grief, Nick Cafmeyer is assailed with feelings of guilt that dictate his actions much more than he even realizes. It is only once he is investigating a new case - the disappearance of a nine-year-old boy - that Nick finds the courage to confront what he's been hiding inside, digging as deeply as possible into his own feelings. Carl Joos’ screenplay subtly ties together all the different strands of the plot. It's an ingenious puzzle that leaves enough room to bring more of Nick’s psychology into play. With the help of simple staging and a rhythmic succession of powerful images, I intend to help the spectator find his way among the different storylines.




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