EN - 1971: 18-year-old Germaine, who lives with her parents and grandfather in a small house in Balen, works in a supermarket, listens to pop music and dreams of a better life. But when workers at the local factory, including her reluctant father, decide to go on strike, things change forever.

NL - 1971 – In het arbeidersgezin van Jan en Clara Debruycker gaat het leven zijn gewone gang, tot een wilde staking uitbreekt in de fabriek waar Jan werkt. Jan moet noodgedwongen aan de staking deelnemen en het gezin komt in financiële moeilijkheden. Gelukkig zijn er nog het pensioen van de inwonende, op alles en iedereen kankerende Opa en het loon van dochter Germaine die in de GB van Mol werkt. Maar dan raakt Germaine in verwachting van Luc, een universiteitsstudent die de stakingsbeweging is komen steunen. Wanneer na negen weken de staking eindelijk afloopt, zal het leven van de Debruyckers nooit meer hetzelfde zijn.

FR - Nous sommes en 1971. Germaine, 18 ans, vit avec ses parents et son grand-père dans une petite maison à Balen. Travaillant dans un supermarché, elle écoute la musique pop et rêve d’une vie meilleure alors que les ouvriers de l’usine de la ville, y compris son propre père, décident de faire grève. Bien qu’ils ne soient pas soutenus par leur Union, les ouvriers refusent de lâcher prise et tiennent bon pendant trois mois. Cela change leur vie pour toujours. Inspiré d’une histoire vraie.


Title Germaine
Original title Groenten uit Balen
Original language Dutch
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Features
Year 2011


Cast Stany Crets, Tiny Bertels, Michel Van Dousselaere, Evelien Bosmans, Clara Cleymans, Herwig Ilegems, Bart Hollanders, Veerle Dobbelaere, Koen De Bouw, Lucas Van den Eynde, Axel Daeseleire, Luc Nuyens, Tom Dewispelaere, Jonas Leemans, Mathijs Scheepers
Photography Lou Berghmans
Editing Frank Van Mechelen, Pieter Smet
Sound Hans Tourné
Music Koen Brandt

Technical specs

Running time film 110'
Release format HD
Aspect ratio 1:1.85
Colour Colour
Available in 2D


Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)

Time of My Life and The Invader grab Awards in Ostend

At the close of the Ostend Film Festival (7 – 15 September 2012) the Flemish film industry gathered in Ostend for the third annual Flemish Film Awards, now called the ‘Ensors’. Nic Balthazar’s Time of My Life, Nicolas Provost’s The Invader and Frank Van Mechelen’s Germaine were the winners of the evening with three or more Awards. This edition also saw the introduction of a number of new awards such as Best Documentary (Epilogue).

Still of Nic Balthazar's Time of My LifeTime of my life (pictured on the left) won the awards for Best feature, Best actor in a leading role (Geert Van Rampelberg) and Best Editing (Philippe Ravoet). Based on a true story, Time of My Life is the story of MS-patient  Mario Verstraete who was not only instrumental in legalising euthanasia in Belgium… but was also the first to make use of that new law. Peter Bouckaert produced the film for Eyeworks Film & TV Drama.

Published on Saturday 15 September 2012

Grit and Whimsey cinema in Golden State

The Belgian Consulate in LA have announced that director Frank Van Mechelen’s domestic box-office hit Germaine will screen in Santa Monica, CA as a part of the ‘Grit and Whimsy’ Belgian film series.

germaineOriginally launched as part of the celebrations of Belgium’s presidency of the European Union in 2010, the ‘Grit and Whimsy’ Belgian Film Series is now organized on a permanent basis by the Belgian Consulate General in LA, in cooperation with Flanders Image amongst others.

Published on Thursday 8 March 2012

Box office and fest success for Flemish pair

Two major Flemish productions, Germaine and Time of My Life, have been boosted by a slew of positive news and numbers. Both films are based on true stories and have succeeded in catching the attention of media and public alike. Nic Balthazar’sTime of My Life was receveid enthusiastically at Berlin's EFM, while Frank Van Mechelen's Germainehas proven itself as a true box-office hit.

Time of my life tot altijd nic balthazarFilms Distribution, international sales agent of Balthazar’s second feature Time of My Life, confirmed that the film drew a great deal of attention at Berlin’s European Film Market. Towards the end of March, Time of My Life will be released in The Netherlands, Luxemburg and the French-speaking region of Belgium. Time of My Life has already managed to claim two major festival awards: the Audience Award for Best Film at both the RamDam Festival and The End Festival in Amsterdam. The film was also honoured with a special mention from the jury at the prestigious Rome Film Festival.

Published on Monday 20 February 2012

Power to the people

Being set in the 1970s doesn't make Germaine a museum piece. 'Even now, 40 years on, it remains very current,' says its director, Frank Van Mechelen. The film is based on a play from the period, which was inspired by the author's experience of a wildcat strike. Van Mechelen thinks the questions of community and family loyalty that it raises should still resonate. 'I hope that things are still the same now, that people feel a sort of solidarity, that they want to help each other.'

Frank Van Mechelen - portraitThe story revolves around the Debruycker family. Jan (Stany Crets) works at a zinc factory in Balen, a small town in the Kempen region in the north east of Belgium. When a strike breaks out in the winter of 1970-71 he is not too keen on taking part, but he is also not brave enough to follow his bitter old father's advice and cross the picket line. With no money coming in, the family has to get by on what his daughter Germaine (Evelien Bosmans) brings in from working at the checkout in a supermarket in near-by Mol.

Published on Thursday 9 February 2012

Germaine hits box office gold

Frank Van Mechelen’s Germaine has captured audiences in its home territory. After only three weeks on release, the film has already passed the 100,000-admission mark, giving it Gold status. Actresses Evelien Bosmans and Clara Cleymans are to accept the Golden Award from the Ostend Film Festival on 11 January.

Still from Frank Van Mechelen's GermaineGermaine, Van Mechelen’s third feature after Hell in Tangier (2006) and The Intruder(2005), now takes its place in the top 10 of most visited films in Flanders. The Golden Award for 100,000 admissions is an initiative of the Ostend Film Festival. Last year, Michaël R Roskam’s Bullhead, Jakob Verbruggen’s Code 37 – The Film and Geoffrey Enthoven’s Come As You Are also reached either Gold, Platinum or Diamond status.

Published on Thursday 5 January 2012

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Last edited on 18 February 2018

Short info

Director Frank Van Mechelen
Producers Eric Wirix
Writers Walter Van Den Broeck, Guido Van Meir

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