Homage to Dirk Lauwaert: Il lavoro

Homage to Dirk Lauwaert: Il lavoro
With an introduction by Wouter Hessels

Over the past year, the film magazine Sabzian, in collaboration and with the support of LUCA School of Arts and LUCABreakout, has regularly published new English translations of texts about film by Dirk Lauwaert, the Belgian author who died ten years ago. To mark the end of this series, and to once again highlight Lauwaert’s entire oeuvre, two screenings will take place at Cinema RITCS: La règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) on December 12 and Il lavoro (Luchino Visconti, 1962) on December 13, two films to which Lauwaert dedicated fine texts.

Il lavoro [The Job] was Luchino Visconti’s contribution to the anthology film Boccacio ’70 (1962), in which four Italian directors – Vittoria De Sica, Federico Fellini, Mario Monicelli and Visconti – each made a short film about love. Lauwaert approaches this from the perspective of two of his other obsessions, also connected to cinema: fashion and the actress Romy Schneider. In the text “Look Without Sleeves!” Lauwaert demonstrates that clothing in film is much more than something “in function of.” Clothing plays a vast range of associations and resonances, which go beyond the limits of narrative function. Semantic fields are tapped into that lead us to “the intimacy of a zeitgeist, to the deep anthropological layers of human existence, to the psychic foundations of a young actress.” In the film, Schneider wears clothes by Chanel, whose style, according to Lauwaert, contrasts with the demands of the “flamboyant and vulgar medium” of film. With this contrasting and austere luxury – Schneider stands out from the other characters as a result – Visconti delineates the “contours of a new woman.” Lauwaert sees in Schneider's role in Il lavoro a reckoning with the role of the Austrian empress in the Sissi films. For the first time, the spectator can look the actress straight in the eyes and is thus forced to let go of his sentimental dream image. Lauwaert aptly describes that phantasm, and the encounter with Romy Schneider on the big screen as a young spectator, in the text “Dreaming of an Expedition”: "The boy has seen a beautiful woman whose lips, when talking, move him to this very day. He understands (but does not accept) that she came so close to him but that he has to stay so far away from her.”

13 Dec 2023 - 23 May 2024
Cinema RITCS, Brussels
PART OF Sabzian Events

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