Since 2017, Lietje Bauwens and Wouter De Raeve have been researching the redevelopment of the Northern Quarter in Brussels, using filmmaking and fiction to intervene in this ongoing debate. Our first pick of the week, WTC A never-ending Love Story, picks up where WTC A Love Story, their previous collaboration, left off. The duo, co-directing with Daan Milius this time, once again mobilises actors to set up different fiction experiments, challenging power relations involved in urban redevelopment and investigating both the history and the current state of resistance in the Northern Quarter. The premiere of WTC A never-ending Love Story is accompanied by the screening of their previous film.
Staying with megalomaniac building projects, our second film of the week is Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Klaus Kinski, Herzog’s actor-nemesis, plays Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald who intends to build an opera house in the Amazon jungle. The scene where Herzog transports a steamship over a steep hill caused wide controversy over the years. “I’m aware of my reputation of being a ruthless madman,” Herzog responds to Paul Cronin, “but when I look at Hollywood – which is a completely crazed place – it’s clear to me that I’m the only clinically sane person there. As my wife will convincingly testify, I am a fluffy husband.”
After screening Farrebique ou les quatre saisons (1946) on Sunday, Cercle du laveu in Liège continues its September/October “Peasantry” cycle with John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940). This timeless adaptation of John Steinbeck’s eponymous novel follows an Oklahoma family who is driven off their family farm and forced to join the great migration to the West during the years of the Great Depression. Despite their endless battle against capitalist forces and classist prejudice, Ford imbues his characters with grace regardless of their hardships, no doubt aided by the beautiful cinematography of Gregg Toland.