Week 50/2023

This week’s selection relates to the kind of films the critic Frieda Grafe once called neorealist “dissenters or latecomers” and their sensitivity to landscape. Youssef Chahine shot Cairo Station (1958) entirely on location at the train station. Its main square, with the giant statue of Ramses II still standing, becomes a microcosm for Nasserist Egypt in flux in the wake of the Suez crisis.

As part of its Classics Restored cycle this month, co-organizer of the former screening CINEA also tours with Bandits of Orgosolo (1961). Vittorio De Seta set his story of a wrongly accused shepherd-on-the-run in the Sardinian countryside and the surrounding harsh granite mountains of Barbagia, a dry, desolate and silent landscape. Writing on Bandits of Orgosolo in Cahiers du cinema, the French critic Jean-André Fieschi stressed that “neo-realism is not a school but a tendency, a force that is still active in cinema; we need it as much today, if only as a stimulus, as at the moment of its official recognition.”

Although Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli (1950) is showing at De Cinema in Antwerp this Thursday as an ideal companion piece, we cannot but select the evening that Cinema Nova and LABO BXL dedicate to the worldwide network of 67 artist-run film labs that they’ve initiated. With her expanded cinema performance Pulsos subterráneos, Elena Pardo seeks to understand the struggle against corporate mining in the Mexican regions of Zacatecas and Oaxaca. With the love and attention similar to her fellow filmmakers Chahine or De Seta, she does so through the stories told by its inhabitants and the experiences evoked by its landscapes.

This Week