The story begins in Ostend, where little Arnold likes to play soccer and swim, but says "no" as often as "yes. Until a young teacher puts some blues records in his hand. Aunt Fabienne van den Kieboom, brother Peter Hintjens and muse Sonja Vanhee tell about a guest with long hair, who was always on the go. Musician Paul Decoutere explains why he saw in him the singer nobody suspected. And how together they modelled Tjens Couter out of chunks of blues, the Ostend sea air and a lot of their own willfulness.
With 'Charlatan, the life of Arno Hintjens', director Dominique Deruddere wants to show another side of Arno. The child who inherited from his grandmother Marie-Louise a great imagination and the talent to dream. The young man who left a well-paying job in the hospitality industry to sing, turning TC Matic into a bend or crack project. The author who, in songs like "Lonesome Zorro," lets us look into his lonely soul. The vulnerable human being who shows his feelings very rarely and to few people.
"I had a hard time with it sometimes, because it's about a friend who is sick," says Deruddere, who became close friends with Arno in the Brussels nightlife of the 1980s. Arno himself calls "Charlatan" his will, which he made together with his friends such as Dominique Deruddere, Josse De Pauw as narrator, Lou Berghmans as cameraman and Peter Vantyghem as interviewer.