In addition to highlighting retrospectives and festivals, Sabzian selects and contextualises three to four films or events in Belgium and its surroundings every week.


This Week’s Agenda


This week begins with a screening of Retratos Fantasmas [Pictures of Ghosts] (2023) at KASKcinema. Set in Recife, the Brazilian coastal capital of Pernambuco, the film is a journey through time, sound, architecture, and filmmaking. It delves into the historical and human territories traced by grand movie theatres that were at one point central to social life in the 20th century. These venues, once full of dreams and progress, reflect significant shifts in social practices and are explored as part of a city’s cinema-infused cartography.

On Friday, De Cinema in Antwerp invites the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp to present a program of experimental shorts by Germaine Dulac and Maya Deren. “When making a film, the story is usually put in the foreground while the image stays in the background, that is, theater is preferred over cinema. When the relationship will be inversed, cinema will begin to live according to its proper meaning. […] The future belongs to the film that cannot be told,” proclaimed Germaine Dulac in 1928 – a principle that resonates in Maya Deren’s work as well.

We conclude the week at the Afrika Film Festival in Leuven with a screening of this year’s Berlinale winner, Dahomey (2024), by Mati Diop. In Dahomey, the return of twenty-six royal artifacts from the Kingdom of Dahomey to the Republic of Benin – after being looted by French colonial forces in 1892 – sparks debate among University of Abomey-Calavi students. When asked what spurred her to make the film, Mati Diop reflects: “I never envisioned what restitution could look like. Imagining it inspired a film about the odyssey of a looted artifact, projecting its homecoming into the future. It's a vision that stretches from the past looting to a speculative return in 2075, a narrative of cultural reclamation I thought I might never witness.”

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