Roland Lethem – Le Vampire de la cinémathèque (1971)

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Quote:
“Joseph Plateau had no shit in his eyes, take it out of yours”. In 1843, Joseph Plateau, Belgian physicist and mathematician, renowned for his research on retinal persistence who focused on the sun for 25 seconds and became sightless in the love of science. Nel 1971 Roland Lethem, Belgian experimental cineast and provocateur positions his camera in front of a fenastiscope, the celebrated disk invented by Plateau in 1831, one of the precursors to what would eventually become the cinematographic apparatus. Continue reading

Michael R. Roskam – Rundskop aka Bullhead (2011)

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From Imdb:
The young Limburg cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. But the assassination of a federal policeman, and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from Jacky’s past, set in motion a chain of events with farreaching consequences. BULLHEAD is an exciting tragedy about fate, lost innocence and friendship, about crime and punishment, but also about conflicting desires and the irreversibility of a man’s destiny. Written by Anonymous Continue reading

Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne – Le gamin au vélo aka The Kid with a Bike (2011)

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Quote:
Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in the hands of an unqualified childcare provider.

Quote:
The Kid with a Bike (French: Le Gamin au vélo) is a 2011 drama film written and directed by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, starring Cécile de France and Thomas Doret. Set in Seraing, it tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who turns to a woman after his father has abandoned him.[1] The film was produced through companies in Belgium, France and Italy. While it does not deviate from the naturalistic style of the Dardenne brothers’ earlier works, a brighter aesthetic than usual was employed, and the screenplay had a structure inspired by fairytales. Unusually for a film by the directors it also uses music. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the festival’s Grand Prix. Continue reading

Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd – Le cercle des noyés (2007)

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Quote:
The word protected, the words embodied

Essay from the booklet:
Spoiler
This film was born out of the encounter with a man, Fara Bâ. He wanted to testify in order not to forget those who were political prisoners at the fort of Ouatala ten years before, for having opposed the racial segregation they suffered as black people. Many of his companions died there. It is the testimonies of these former prisoners, those who survived prison, which Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd is going to collect over a ten-year period, without any camera. When it became necessary to make a film out of this, upon the request of Fara Bâ, only the words mattered. The film was to be constructed on the narrative of these years of detention, a narrative co-written with the film-maker on the basis of the testimonies of the group of survivors. Fara Ba is their spokesperson. His voice is the one which tells and it overshadows that of the film-maker whose presence vanishes for the duration of a film. The starting point is this encounter and not an intention or vision of the film-maker. The necessity of tt1e film does not come from him at first. The images are claimed by the narrative, told by the man’s voice, “spokesvoice” for his companions. Continue reading

André Delvaux – Een vrouw tussen hond en wolf (1979)

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The story of a woman’s love for two young men. Antwerp, 1940. Lieve marries Adriaan, a Flemish idealist who is drawn towards Germany by the occupation to the Eastern Front. She shelters the resistant François in 1942 and discovers with him what love is really about. At the liberation, she’s reunited with a bruised and sentenced Adriaan. In spite of her passion for François, she cannot bring herself to abandon him in these trying circumstances. But she slowly drifts away from her husband, while she senses that François, who is monopolized by his career, is slowly drifting away from her. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1976)

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In the unnerving silence of a sparsely furnished kitchen in Brussels, a poised, anonymous middle-aged woman (Delphine Seyrig) – identified only through the title of the film as Jeanne Dielman – completes her food preparation, places the contents into a large cooking pot on the stove, reaches for a match, lights the burner, and with chronological precision, finishes replacing the matchbox from its original location as the doorbell rings, switching the lights off as she leaves the room. The scene then cuts to an unusually framed shot of a truncated Jeanne at the entrance of the apartment as she accepts a hat and coat from an unidentified guest (Henri Storck) before retreating, out of view, into a bedroom at the end of the hallway. Moments later, the obscured image is reconnected to a familiar referential framing of the darkened hallway as the unknown guest re-emerges from the room and prepares to leave, handing Jeanne a pre-arranged sum of money before confirming their next appointment for the following week. She deposits the money in a soup tureen in the dining room, then returns to the kitchen to attend to the boiling pot, before tidying the bedroom and meticulously bathing and changing clothes after the encounter. And so Jeanne’s monotonous daily ritual unfolds through the tedium of household chores, impersonal sexual transactions, trivial errands, and alienated conversations with her son, Sylvain (Jan Decorte), revealing the silent anguish of disconnection and systematic erosion of the human soul. Continue reading

André Delvaux – Belle (1973)

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Mathieu returns home. He tells no one of his encounter with the strange woman. He goes back to his studious but airless life in the archives of a provincial town, cataloging several centuries of births, marriages and deaths. Days later, he goes back to the farmhouse in the woods only to discover the mysterious woman lying in an upstairs room deliriously ill. He recklessly rushes back into town and returns with medicine and food. She recovers. Emboldened by his restorative powers, Mathieu teaches her his name and, realizing she doesn’t comprehend him, he calls her “Belle.” Continue reading