Films

February

Grands travaux + Inside The Distance – Olivia Rochette & Gerard-Jan Claes

grands travaux

We were happy to see two films by our own kin at the International Film Festival Rotterdam this year. Grands travaux by Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes has already been screening throughout January in Belgium and on 5 February, Het Bos in Antwerp is screening a double bill with their 2011 Because We Are Visual. IFFR also selected Elias Grootaers’ Inside The Distance, which will have its Belgian release soon. Meanwhile, at sabzian.be, you can read a long interview by Bjorn Gabriels with Rochette and Claes on the conception of their film, in both English and Dutch.

Grands travaux might be considered a tentative cartography of the vocational school Anneessens-Funck. We mapped the various spaces of a place where the fragments of a disintegrated city converge. Just like with Because We Are Visual and Rain, constructing Grands travaux was closely related to a tension between inside and outside, between private and public space, between darkness and light… Essentially, Grands travaux is about how we might create new spaces in film. It’s a flowing geography, a movement through the polymorphous spaces inhabited by the boys.

We also want to make contemporary films. On the one hand, a lot of films that deal with our current world remain locked within themselves, as if they don’t relate back to reality. On the other hand, as a filmmaker you wonder if you’re condemned to work along the lines of Pedro Costa or Wang Bing, even if what they do is brilliant and virtuosic. I think that is something many filmmakers struggle with. To us, they may be the most important contemporary filmmakers, but I don’t know the world and the time of their films, nor do I belong to them. Of course, they film places that do exist in our times, but precisely the fact that they are in decay, gives them a materialistic quality that seems to be lacking over here. Filming a smooth surface requires a different approach than filming cracked walls.’

Grands travaux and Because We Are Visual will be screened at Het Bos, Antwerp on 5 February, in collaboration with De Imagerie. This screening is free for members, but requires your booking via memberships@subbacultcha.be

Born In Flames – Lizzie Borden

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The recent restoration of this downtown NYC, guerilla-style produced science-fiction fable manifests a radical vision that detonates like a Molotov cocktail amid an actuality that is marked by political unrest and reactionary tendencies. Perhaps as never before, the speculative vision of a post-revolutionary world order which, despite rhetorical promises of change and equality, indulges in systematic discrimination and oppression evokes multiple echoes of recognition. No wonder that the film serves as a blueprint for many activist movements in the US: its zealous and kaleidoscopic portrayal of dissident struggle against heteropatriarchy and racism appears to have only gained in urgency and pertinence. – Stoffel Debuysere

Born In Flames (+ talk with director) will be screened at Cinematek, Brussels on 3 February, 19.30. This screening is free for members.

Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock

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Rear Window is likely one of the most acclaimed films about voyeurism, heightening the tension between watching and being watched in dignified Hitchcock fashion. The film is entirely conceived in a meticulously designed studio set, with the colours of the background walls functioning as an orientation for the audience. LB Jeffries, the protagonist of the film, played by James Stewart, is in fact a very competent voyeur, a professional photojournalist who, when confined to his wheelchair with a broken leg, starts nosing in the lives of his neighbours by observing the windows-turned-screens facing his Greenwich Village courtyard apartment. Long shots map the space between the buildings, through the lens of Jeffries’ very own tracking apparatus. This formal expression of voyeurism in Rear Window clearly becomes an allegory for what Hitchcock called ‘the purest expression of a cinematic idea’.

Rear Window will be screened at KASK Cinema, Ghent on 21 February, 20.30.


Sabzian is a collection of online reflections on cinema and maps cinephile events in Belgium and its surroundings. Articles are written in Dutch, English and French.