Week 17/2023

This week’s agenda selection highlights films that investigate the act of leaving a place, the emotions of returning to it, or the attempts of getting to know it completely. Always connected with histories, personal and global.

On Monday, for the final screening of their retrospective on filmmaker and influential feminist theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha, CINEMATEK is screening her 2015 essay work Forgetting Vietnam in which she commemorates the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. In this exploration of the history and present of Vietnam, she has only one request for her viewers: “Please follow me. Trust me, for deep feeling and understanding require total commitment.”

On Tuesday, CINEMATEK is treating us with a screening of their own restoration of an iconic Chantal Akerman film. At the age of 21, Akerman moved from Brussels to New York City, where she lived “like a vagabond”. Some years later, after returning to Belgium and making our beloved Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Akerman created News from Home (1977). Long takes of New York City are set to a voice-over of Akerman reading the letters her mother sent while she was away. This screening is part of a “prelude” to the 10th edition of the Contour Biennale, curated by the Brussels production and distribution platform Auguste Orts. 

On three different days this week, you can travel to De Cinema in Antwerp to watch Elixir d’Anvers (1996) and have a – possibly disorienting – deep dive into the past of this city. The anthology film, supervised by the Belgian Fugitive Cinema filmmaker Robbe De Hert, consists of six parts of Antwerp history, real and fictional, seen through the eyes of Flemish and Dutch young directors. The whole thing is strung together by De Hert’s comic street interviews. 

This Week