Toto the Hero

Toto the Hero

Directed by Jaco Van Dormael
Bénédicte Liénard
(assistant director)
Produced by Dany Geys
Luciano Gloor
Written by Didier De Neck
Pascal Lonhay
Jaco Van Dormael
Laurette Vankeerberghen
Starring Michel Bouquet
Jo De Backer
Mireille Perrier
Gisela Uhlen
Music by Pierre van Dormael
Cinematography Walther van den Ende
Edited by Susana Rossberg
Release dates
  • 16 May 1991 (1991-05-16)
Running time
91 minutes
Country Belgium, France, Germany
Language French

Toto the Hero (French: Toto le Héros) is a 1991 Belgian film (co-produced with France and Germany) by Belgian film director and screenwriter Jaco Van Dormael. The film was selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 64th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[1]


Ostensibly set in the near future, the film tells the life story of an elderly man named Thomas Van Hasebroeck (who has dubbed himself Toto, after a childhood fantasy), looking back on his ordinary, apparently uneventful life in a complex mosaic of flashbacks, interspersed with fantasies about how events might have turned out differently. It is not always possible to tell the difference between embellished or manufactured memories and fantasies, as Thomas is a very unreliable narrator, but some scenes (such as the narrative thread that features Toto as a secret agent) are definitely fantasized.

Thomas firmly believes his life to have been "stolen" from him by Alfred Kant, born at the same time as Thomas, who Thomas believes was inadvertently switched with himself as a baby (characteristically, the film remains ambiguous as to whether this substitution ever actually happened, with Thomas' only substantiation being his apparent vivid memory of the day he was born). Thomas' jealousy of Alfred has overshadowed all his life, often with tragic consequences for his loved ones, and he is plotting revenge. Throughout most of the film, his intended revenge takes the shape of a plot to kill Alfred, but in the end Thomas finds a more creative and surprising way to "take back" his life.

DVD release

Paramount Pictures has yet to announce any plans to release the film onto DVD in North America. It is available on DVD in the UK and mainland Europe.


See also


  1. Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 3/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.