On April 14th at 19:30 CET, Seuls: Short Work 2’ will premiere on Avila, a short film programme compiled by Sabzian. This selection is an adaptation of the second Seuls short film programme, organised by Sabzian in 2018 and screened at the KASKcinema in Ghent. Seuls. Singular Moments in Belgian Film History is a series of film programs accompanied by the publication of unique texts by Belgian filmmakers and writers on Sabzian’s website.
This film programme offers three films by directors who played a key role in the Belgian surrealist movement. Ernst Moerman was associated with the Paris surrealists, wrote plays and produced one film, Monsieur Fantômas (1937), in which a criminal mastermind, dressed in a dinner jacket, violates mores during his search for the beautiful Elvira. Luc de Heusch was an ethnologist and filmmaker who produced a variety of artist portraits, including Magritte ou La leçon de choses (1960), a film about the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, in which pictorial and cinematographic images interact and contradict each other, generating an interplay between the works of art and the way they are staged by the filmmaker. Marcel Mariën was not only an adventurous intellectual who spent time in various surrealist circles, but also a devoted admirer, interpreter and sometimes artistic partner of René Magritte. Mariën's film L'imitation du cinéma (1960) provoked controversy when it was released in 1960 due to its suggestive linking of erotic images with a pseudo-religious story about a man who develops a desire to be crucified, including a casual adventure with a prostitute.
Filmmaker, cinema and Zen teacher Konrad Maquestieau once typified Belgian cinema anti-conformist: "This country harbours a tradition in which individuals, completely unrelated to each other, manage to make films in the most idiosyncratic way. Films that do not conform to any norm, regulation, school, fashion or theory. Their images are unique. The 'tradition' is characterised by independence, diversity, subjectivity, daring, inventiveness, audacity, and humorous subversion. Here, the inexhaustible imagination is central." The name Seuls ties in with this; it brings into focus a film culture consisting of a kinship between soloists who explore all possible mechanisms of imagination.
To celebrate this special occasion Sabzian and Avila are offering the first 250 coupons for free. When the limit of coupons has been reached, the film programme will still remain available on the Avila-platform. The online premiere is free and available for viewing in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The films with dialogue are always available with Dutch, French and English subtitles. The programme will be accompanied by articles in several languages.
Introduction by Steven Jacobs, art historian specializing in the relationship between art and cinema:
Seuls. Singular Moments in Belgian Film History is a series of film programs accompanied by the publication of unique texts by Belgian filmmakers and writers on Sabzian’s website. It is often said that cinephiles don’t know or are rarely appreciative of their own national cinema. Film critic Adrian Martin “observe[s] a very intriguing dimension of cinephile thought: namely, the usually feisty way it negotiates a fraught relation with the cinephile’s own national cinema. Indeed, I sometimes think I can spot a cinephile by the intensity of their hatred for their national cinema.” With this series of film evenings, Sabzian aims to chart the wayward landscape of Belgian cinema with images, sounds and words, by means of an affectionate countermovement.
Monsieur Fantômas and Magritte ou La leçon de choses were digitized by CINEMATEK, the Royal Belgian Film Archive.
Magritte ou La leçon de choses is a part of the catalog of the Storck foundation.
L'imitation du cinéma is part of collection of Province of Hainaut, stored at the BSP22 centre in Charleroi (BE).
With the support of the Flemish government