"Hellhole" premieres this week, three years after the Brussels attacks. It’s been called beautiful, contemplative cinema and provides a poetic portrait of three of the city's inhabitants. All three are very different figures. Mehdi is a schoolboy of Algerian heritage. Alba hails from Italy and is a translator at the EU. Wannes is a doctor and single. His father's dying and his son is a fighter pilot in Afghanistan.
All three feel orphaned by the 22 March experience.
"Of course, Brussels isn't a hellhole" Bas Devos tells VRT News. "It's a city in which we write a story together, a story that is heading in the right direction."
"I wanted to show that underneath all the dreadful suffering by the people who were directly involved, there are an awful lot of people who have to go on in this city. It's a city to love, but it also has its problems."
In the weeks after 22 March Brussels is called the ‘Jihadi Capital of Europe’. It's discussed in Mehdi’s class. Then President Trump calls the city a hellhole.
Bas Devos is eager to provide a pushback to President Trump's words: "Brussels is a complicated location because people are complicated creatures. Often we direct a lot of violence at each other. Together we are all writing a story that remains unfinished. I want to bring a story with nuance about the place that is Brussels and its beautiful inhabitants."