Article EN
2.06.2021

It would be more than fair to say that in American films, the motif of adventure is one of the favorite story-telling devices. So many films come to mind – from the most banal to the most memorable of the western, detective, and war genre films of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to the rash of modern-day science fiction films patterned on the Star Wars or Close Encounters formulas. (...) Two other films stand out in my mind that take the adventure story theme to another level, and therefore deserve a closer look: Charles Lane’s A Place in Time, and Charles Burnett’s Killer Of Sheep.

Article NL
26.05.2021

Het nieuws passeerde bijna geruisloos: eind februari vroeg Filmmagie het faillissement aan, het oudste filmtijdschrift van het land legde finaal de boeken neer. (...) Drie weken geleden lanceerde het VAF een oproep voor projectsubsidies van 65 000 euro voor een opvolger van Filmmagie. Het tijdschrift moet focussen “op onafhankelijke filmkritiek met oog voor enerzijds kwaliteitsfilms met een culturele en maatschappelijke betekenis en anderzijds voor de ontwikkeling van filmcultuur in Vlaanderen en daarbuiten”. Daarbij moeten “achtergrond, kritiek en verdieping hand in hand gaan”. 

Conversation EN
19.05.2021

As the pioneer of female Tunisian filmmakers, Selma Baccar has first and foremost also answered back to men’s representations of women in her own films. From The Awakening (1966) to Fatma 75 (1975), The Dance of Fire (1995) to Flower of Oblivion (2006), the historical detail, contemporary relevance and concern with women in a much wider context have gained her the reputation of the “grande dame” of Tunisian cinema: a feminist activist. Selma Baccar: “As an activist for women’s rights, I have always felt that women are the cornerstone of society in general, and as a child of the age of protests in the 1960s I felt that I could be not only a spokesperson for the Tunisian woman but also an informer and critic of the contemporary atmosphere in Tunisia.”

Conversation EN
19.05.2021

“The International Women’s Year provided me with the opportunity to make it [Fatma 75]. I figured that, for the first Tunisian film entirely devoted to this subject, I must not resort to fiction but make an analytical work. Through this film, I set about demystifying what is called ‘the miracle of Tunisian women’s emancipation’.”

Conversation EN
19.05.2021

Selma Baccar’s film opens with a series of portraits of women who have marked the history of Tunisia through the ages. In a theatrical way, Sophonisba, Kahina, Jelajil, and Aziza present themselves to us as the predecessors, through their courageous actions, of this young girl, Fatma, in 1975.

Conversation
19.05.2021
Magda Wassef 1978
Translated by

Fatma 75’s approach is quite original. The film is based on essays and histories written on the Tunisian feminist movement, using fiction to make its message accessible to the general public. Selma baccar: “As for my experience as a woman director, I think it was very important for me. My relationship with the crew and the actors was excellent. The shooting of Fatma 75 was “all roses”. On the other hand, in order to obtain the necessary funding for the production of the film, I felt a great mistrust from some of the people in charge, although I had a special card up my sleeve: a film about women made by a woman. But the problem of film production in Tunisia is the same for men and women: it’s negative for both of them.”

Manifesto EN
19.05.2021

“Given this situation, the three of us – a filmmaker, a critic and a technician in the Arab cinema – have decided to establish an ‘Assistance Fund’ for the self-expression of the Arab woman in the cinema. A yearly prize of 10,000 ff (about $2500) will be awarded to the best script for a short film from those proposals submitted by Arab women undertaking their first film.”

Conversation NL EN
12.05.2021

“It’s much more enjoyable to watch theatre than to make theatre, and it is much more enjoyable to make films than to watch a film, because film is a much more evolved medium when it comes to the material you are interpreting. Imagine to simply steal someone’s face, their appearance, capturing it at the angle you’re most attracted to, where it moves you, and to try to piece together all that you’ve stolen afterwards during the editing; that you can then fabricate something very moving.”

Conversation NL EN
12.05.2021

“Het is veel plezieriger om naar theater te kijken dan om theater te maken, en het is veel plezieriger om film te maken dan naar film te kijken, omdat film een veel meer geëvolueerd medium is wat lezen betreft, wat de lectuur betreft. Dat je gewoon iemand zijn gezicht, zijn voorkomen steelt, inblikt op het ogenblik dat het jou bevalt, ontroert, en dat je bij de montage ziet hoe al die berovingen bij elkaar passen.”

Article NL EN
12.05.2021

It is an intriguing film because of its original position in the field of Flemish film production. This is not some attempt at a standard technical finish that’s devoid of aesthetic politics. It is a clearly defined boundary, an emphatic style within which the entire film must develop. This is an unusual (almost suicidal) road for a young (Flemish) filmmaker. His colleagues are out to make attractive films that people will consider solid and professionally made. Films that are able to attract official subsidies, but only lead the public to believe that “we” might one day be able to make one too. 

Article NL EN
12.05.2021

Het is een intrigerende film door zijn originele opstelling in het veld van de Vlaamse filmproductie. Hier geen gooi naar een standaardnorm van technische afwerking die door geen esthetische politiek gedragen wordt. Wel een nadrukkelijk afgebakende grens, een nadrukkelijke stijl waarbinnen de hele film zich dient te ontplooien. Dit is een ongewone (bijna suïcidale) weg voor een jong (Vlaams) cineast. Zijn collega’s is het altijd weer te doen om aantrekkelijke films te maken, waarvan men zal zeggen dat ze degelijk en professioneel gemaakt zijn. Films die een officiële subsidiebeurs kunnen losmaken, maar het publiek slechts de vaststelling kunnen ontlokken dat ‘wij’ het misschien ooit ook zullen kunnen.

Article NL EN
12.05.2021

“It’s a sort of acrobatic distance, here in Hedda Gabler, that makes you hold your breath in suspense (the acting is wonderful!) until it should be released by laughter. There’s a spluttering retelling of a wildly unlikely story, a kooky imitation of melodramatic conflicts, a travesty of critical unriddling, offering this extremely slow, calm countercurrent full of rapids and waterfalls.”

Article NL
12.05.2021

“De hele tijd door moest ik denken aan De Metsiers van Hugo Claus en toen ik nog een heel jong adolescent was. Er is een gelijkaardige politiek in de provocatie zowel in het verhaal als in het televisiespel. Er is dezelfde inkapseling van de hele context en de verhaal-wereld in het bewustzijn van één enkele persoon. Het zijn de obsessies van de zoon die de verhoudingen in het gezin bepalen en er hun zin aan geven.”

Article NL
5.05.2021

Met Le chantier des gosses (1970) verwezenlijkte autodidact Jean Harlez (1924) zijn grote droom om een langspeelfilm te maken in de Brusselse Marollenwijk. Met kinderen uit de buurt en een zelfgebouwde camera improviseerde Harlez er het verhaal van een stel straatjongens die hun stuk braakliggend speelterrein verdedigen tegen de landmeters en ondernemers die er een sociale woontoren komen neerpoten. Hoe deze “eerste Belgische neorealistische film” tot stand kwam en uiteindelijk ontvangen werd, leest als een even spectaculaire als schrijnende strijd. 

Conversation FR
5.05.2021

En 1956, Paul De Swaef passe sur le tournage du film Le chantier des gosses de Jean Harlez pour le journal dominical belge Germinal, film qui sera finalement présenté en première à Bruxelles en 1970.

Article NL FR
5.05.2021

Het is voor mij niet eenvoudig om me de lange geschiedenis van Le chantier des gosses voor de geest te halen. Ze vloeit dikwijls over in de mijne, de onze, aangezien ik de vrouw ben van Jean Harlez. In 1956 vatte Jean het plan op om met eigen middelen een langspeelfictiefilm te draaien in een volkswijk. Hij wou gebruik maken van de (omgeving van de) Marollen als decor en de wijkbewoners als acteurs om het verhaal te vertellen van een groep kinderen die een braakliggend terrein uitkiezen als ontmoetings- en speelplaats.

Article NL FR
5.05.2021

Il n’est pas simple pour moi d'évoquer la longue histoire du Chantier des gosses. Elle se confond parfois avec la mienne, avec la nôtre, puisque je suis la femme de Jean Harlez. En 1956, Jean avait conçu I ambition de tourner avec ses propres fonds un long métrage de fiction dans un quartier populaire. Il voulait développer en utilisant les Marolles et leurs environs comme décor et leurs habitants comme acteurs, l’histoire d’une bande d’enfants qui se choisissent un terrain vague comme lieu de réunion et de jeux.

Conversation EN
28.04.2021

“But I’m going to reveal a military secret to you that I haven’t revealed to anyone else, because the Tricontinental is as dear to you as it is to me. Thus, your interview will not be like others. People wonder why Heiny Srour has always been a pioneer, a groundbreaker, both in substance and form, why she has always gone off the beaten track. Why, in all of Arab cinema, was she the first to shoot in Dhofar and, also, to go to Vietnam? Why has she been innovative in various domains? The reason is that I was fortunate enough to be born in Lebanon, part of an ultra-minority, unrepresented in Parliament. That immediately offers you a wide-angle view of the world, which the Anglo-Saxons call ‘strategic thinking’.”

Article EN
28.04.2021

Once again, the guerrillas did not tell me about the difficulties of the coming ordeal. This strategy increasingly infuriates me. It’s secrecy plain and simple. Yet an intellectual had warned me: “They say it’s a two-hour walk. It takes me five or six hours.” Yet the Yemeni cameraman exclaims when they go to fetch us water: “But these men are like goats. They don’t walk. They are jumping on the rocks.” I still get angry when their “few hours of walking” become ten or fourteen.

Article EN
28.04.2021
Heiny Srour 1998
Translated by

All this to explain why I have compulsively found myself making films that are so much more difficult to make than those of my male colleagues.

Article EN
28.04.2021

“At the age of 18 in 1963, two films that were turning points for me were Fellini’s 81⁄2 and Cléo de 5 à 7 by a French woman, Agnès Varda. I told myself then that painting is not a big loss, dancing is not a loss, writing is not a loss: it is filmmaking that I must do. I felt cinema was the language that I wanted to express myself with. I could understand that the cinema was the most powerful means, the most complete and the most total to express what you want. When I saw the Fellini film, I thought, “I am a woman, I can never be a filmmaker”. But when I saw the film by Agnès, first I thought, “I can make it”. Then I saw that Agnès was a European woman, I was an Arab woman, and there was no chance in hell that I could make it. Lack of models made me feel depressed too. Now I have two films behind me...”

Article EN
28.04.2021

Yet, Leila is not an anthropological journey but a survey of mythic and symbolic protest. Through her “eye” comes a search for political character in a Lebanon now permanently stained by the massacre of Sabra and Chatila; caught in the throes of bitter civil war; Israel’s “backyard”. Leila prods these moments of loss and discovers ghosts of a very different life before the wolves.

Article EN
28.04.2021
Magda Wassef 1978
Translated by

Certainly, The Hour of Liberation has arrived. But what kind of liberation is it? Heiny Srour not only understands it in the political sense of the term, but in a more absolute sense. The liberation of Arab women is at the heart of this film, which has, unfortunately, hardly been screened in our countries. The difficulties encountered during and after the shoot of the film need to be addressed. They give you an idea of what a woman has to face when she decides not to give in and to push her project to the limit...

Article EN
28.04.2021
Heiny Srour 1976
Translated by

Woman, Arab and... filmmaker. A viable situation? If so, some questions: Is there even one Arab filmmaker who has provoked an explosion of scorn for asserting in front of Marxist militants – don’t laugh – his desire to become a filmmaker? Is there even one Arab filmmaker who was forced to hide from his family that he wanted to make films? Is there even one Arab filmmaker who was called mad by X number of producers for having dared to propose to go and film a guerrilla war? Is there even one Arab filmmaker who has been told from the cradle that he fundamentally wasn’t a “creative” being? To inspire the works of others, fair enough! To write novels dealing with “feminine” subjects is allowed, but barely so (and reluctantly, by the way). But to take the camera in order to talk about human dignity (especially when insisting on women’s liberation), about national dignity? Oh, no, lady! That’s men’s business.

Conversation EN
28.04.2021

The Hour of Liberation is, therefore, a partisan film at all levels. In terms of the montage as well: you can’t place images filmed on both sides of the fence in any order, and tell the viewer to choose sides; that would put oppression and freedom, injustice and justice on the same level. The film is constructed on a structure that rejects the bourgeois conception of ‘objectivity’: it clearly takes sides, without necessarily hiding the difficulties of the struggle, without hiding the contradictions, without ultimately lapsing into triumphalism. The entire montage is conceived to produce an analysis of what a people’s war is.”

Article NL EN
21.04.2021

A year later, when the Germans had lost the war and the concentration camps were liberated, the Allies photographed and filmed the camps, the survivors, and the traces that pointed to the millions murdered. It was above all the images of piles of shoes, glasses, false teeth, the mountains of shorn hair that have made such a profound impression. Perhaps we need images, so that something that is hardly imaginable can register: photographic images as the impressions of the actual at a distance.

Article NL EN
21.04.2021

Een jaar later, toen de Duitsers de oorlog hadden verloren en de concentratiekampen waren bevrijd, fotografeerden en filmden de geallieerden de complexen, de overlevenden en de sporen die wezen op miljoenen vermoorde mensen. Vooral de beelden van stapels schoenen, brillen en kunstgebitten en de bergen afgeschoren haar maakten een diepe indruk. Misschien moeten er eerst beelden zijn vooraleer iets wat nauwelijks voorstelbaar is indruk maakt, fotografische beelden, afdrukken van de werkelijkheid op afstand.

Conversation EN
21.04.2021

Conversely, I try to find my words on the editing table. I have both my typewriter and my editing table in one room. It is connected to this question of writing and filmmaking, because it is also very evident you cannot make films the same way you can write a text. For the text you need to go to the library, but 80% or so of them are created in the room, or if not created, then at least the final version is made indoors at your desk. That is also the last stage of the filmmaking, the aspect where writing and filmmaking come together. People ask me, why don’t you write anymore, and I realise it is because I have succeeded in making a form of writing out of my filmmaking.

Article NL FR
14.04.2021

De surrealisten van het eerste uur, nog vaag vervuld van een dadaïstische geestesgesteldheid, zetten alle zeilen bij en mengden vrolijk disciplines door elkaar om het publiek te verbluffen. Terwijl hun geschriften, theater, muziek en schilderkunst al gauw floreerden, bleef het gebruik van film lange tijd een moeizamere kwestie, in België nog meer dan elders.

Article NL FR
14.04.2021

Les surréalistes de la première heure, encore confusément habités par l’état d’esprit dadaïste, faisaient feu de tout bois et mélangeaient allègrement les disciplines pour stupéfier les spectateurs. Si l’écriture, le théâtre, la musique ou la peinture trouvèrent vite les moyens de s’épanouir, l’utilisation du cinéma resta longtemps plus laborieuse, en Belgique plus encore qu’ailleurs.

Article NL FR
14.04.2021
Henri Storck 1951
Vertaald door

“De mijnwerkers komen uit de mijnschacht tevoorschijn. Ze gaan de straat op, hun gezichten zwart, leerkartonnen helmen op hun hoofd, brandende lampen in hun handen, in dichte rijen die de hele breedte van de straat innemen. Ze naderen met rasse schreden, neuriën een zacht en krachtig gefluisterd lied, voorafgegaan door een zwarte stofwolk.”

Article NL FR
14.04.2021

« Les ouvriers mineurs remontent de la fosse. Ils s'avancent dans la rue, le visage noir, le casque de cuir bouilli sur la tête, la lampe allumée à la main, en rangs serrés qui prennent toute la largeur de la rue. Ils s'avancent sur un rythme implacable, en chantonnant une chanson murmurée, douce et puissante, précédés d'un nuage de poussière noire. »

Article FR
14.04.2021

Tout le surréalisme est au service de Fantômas.
C’est le seul être au monde avec qui
J’aurais aimé me faire photographier à la foire.

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“I began by making film reports, documentaries, and I didn’t come to fiction until much later. The boundaries between the two aren’t very clear-cut, however, and there are often documentary elements in fiction films and vice versa. At the time, there was a fabulous reporting tradition, with film crews in conflict zones that didn’t hesitate to take risks and demonstrate a certain situation by bringing us the footage. Resorting to cinema, especially to documentaries, in order to provoke or accompany social change, to denounce or to provide a basis for action, all this was very much present when I started.”

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“Each time I made a film, it was in a given political period; each time I had a political objective, my films couldn’t just be without orientation. That’s not sentimentality. Through a form of sensibility, a political problem emerges. The destruction of Beirut, the children fighting, it means something. I figured this way of showing things could touch people and have a real political impact. People are fed up with the talking. On television, for example, one day they show a representative of the left, the next a representative of the right. Every day, they agree with someone else, and they end up forgetting who’s right or wrong!”

Correspondence EN
7.04.2021

There are encounters that withstand long separations because they happened at a particular time. That goes for you, who I lost sight of for a long time, and who I met in the liveliest days of our lives. Are there lives outside of lively days? Alas, yes. Many years later, we ran into each other and caught up in the queue for a plane from Paris to Cairo, and then in Alexandria we met again, and... since then, we met again where we had parted, in the intimacy of History, the Tunisian revolution had just broken out and our hearts were cheerful.

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“They no longer allowed us to express ourselves. There was no freedom anymore. At the time, I didn’t fully understand that I was scaring them because I didn’t realize the impact of my work. With my documentaries and my different way of looking at things, I managed to reach European and American television channels. They were afraid my images would shake the public opinion and dismantle their propaganda.”

Article EN
7.04.2021

I would also like to express my affection for Jocelyne. On the strength of her films and the way she has lived her life to date, I consider her one of the bravest, most intelligent and above all freest spirits I have ever encountered – though her freedom of thought and behaviour has sometimes cost her dearly and even put her life in danger. Few other people have suffered so much to preserve their self-esteem and survive in a meaningful way in a world as hostile and indifferent as ours.

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“Today, nine years later, I say to myself: “It’s no longer a matter of taking a position.” That’s where my films are headed and that’s what brings me to fiction. I think I’m meeting my time, the wave of complete scepticism, of doubt, which means that in the fiction to come I have completely abandoned any political point of view – even if everything is political. Even if there is no doubt that there has been a political position. The desire I had to be on TV, to reach a lot of people, meant that my work was concerned with the imagery, which was much more powerful than militant film.”

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“This documentary phase wasn’t only linked to my personal history; it was determined by my country’s political situation and Lebanon’s cinema history. My trajectory is a bit like that of other Lebanese filmmakers. If I decided to move to fiction it’s because, after speaking in a “militant” manner, I now want the image to speak as much as possible.”

Article EN
31.03.2021
Josie Fanon 1977
Translated by

What does it mean to make a film when you are a woman, an Algerian, a novelist (writing in French) and you decide to make it in your own country, for the people of that country, with the widest distribution possible, as it is a film for television?

Article EN
31.03.2021

Élie Faure tells us that the aging Renoir, when he used to refer to this light in Women of Algiers, could not prevent large tears from streaming down his cheeks. Should we be weeping like the aged Renoir, but then for reasons other than artistic ones? Evoke, one and a half centuries later, these Bayas, Zoras, Mounis, and Khadoudjas. Since then, these women, whom Delacroix – perhaps in spite of himself – knew how to observe as no one had done before him, have not stopped telling us something that is unbearably painful and still very much with us today.

Article EN
31.03.2021

A slow pace, silence, memory regained, sensuality, Assia’s film tried to lead us far away from our noisy and dogmatic present. It tried to make us seize the intimacy of secluded women in unusual ways. The language of shadows, the language of bodies. The film is set somewhere between Cherchell and Tipaza. The beauty of the locations takes the story to a realm of mythological enchantment while leaving intact the realism of the existential wound that is buried beneath the silence of the characters. 

Article EN
31.03.2021

“I started from the idea that the more a woman is traditional, the less she needs an association with folklore in terms of sound. When you come across the image of a person whose clothes and attitude are very “conservative”, there’s no need to associate this person with flutes or tambours. At the end, during the party in the caves, the women dance while singing the most ordinary songs, popular street songs really, and I linked this to the fourth dance of Bartók’s “Dance Suite”. I thought it emphasized the inherent nobility of these women. I got the impression that it was original music, written especially for this moment!”

Article EN
31.03.2021
Assia Djebar 1989
Translated by

Can it be simply by chance that most films created by women give as much importance to sound, to music, to the timbre of voices recorded or captured unawares, as they do to the image itself? It is as though the screen had to be approached cautiously and be peopled, if need be, with images seen through a look, even a short-sighted, hazy look, but borne on a full, commanding voice, hard as stone but fragile and rich as the human heart.

Article EN
31.03.2021
Assia Djebar 1982
Translated by

To give a rhythm to the images of reality for twenty years of everyday life in the Maghreb, where each of the three countries has paid its death toll to obtain its independence. This work, which should be a simple “historical” visualization, I approach as a mined area. I apprehend it as an explosive that awakens from my past, from any past, the engulfed pains we believe to be rotten or defeated, I don’t know. They come alive again, they dress again as faceless ghosts, but veiled, as if they suddenly demanded the unfolding of a purifying liturgy.

Article EN
31.03.2021

Assia Djebar’s treatment for La Zerda et les chants de l’oubli [The Zerda or the Songs of Oblivion] (1978-1982): “Without any comment, however, shortly before and during the credits, three known paintings by Delacroix unfold in long shots and in slow pan shots that focus on details of characters, horses or costume elements, each of the paintings linked to an atmosphere of music and fantasia from the pre-colonial Maghreb.”

Article EN
31.03.2021

So your film is more a film about space than about women?

Yes, because saying that my film is a film about women doesn’t mean anything. I’ll always make these films... Female bodies, women are my subject. Like a sculptor somehow, who uses a certain material, while another sculptor will use another material. That should mean something, shouldn’t it? I think that’s what the Cinémathèque audience couldn’t stand; I’ve removed men from my film. But what can I say, except that I’ve just shown what exists in reality. I intentionally separated the sexes in the image, as in reality. The intention is feminist, and why not? I wanted to show the number one problem of Algerian women, which is the right to space. Because I was able to verify that the more space the women had, the firmer they stood.

Article NL
24.03.2021
Meagan Day 2020
Vertaald door

De politieke zelfgenoegzaamheid van de jaren ’90 leverde een verrassend groot aantal mainstream Amerikaanse romantische komedies op over het verzet tegen de gevestigde macht. Maar You’ve Got Mail bracht ons een nieuwe fantasie, volledig geneoliberaliseerd: wat als de gevestigde macht de ware is?