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Focus on Belgium

CAGES 
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE / DAGEN ZONDER LIEF 
DAYS OF GLORY / INDIGENES 
THE COLOUR OF WATER / KHADAK
LADY CHATTERLAY
SOUNDS OF SAND / SI LE VENT SOULÈVE LE SABLE
SMALL GODS
THE ONLY ONE / VIDANGE PERDUE

The plan to put Belgian films in the focus at Black Nights came out of a selfish desire to get a better idea of film-making in that country, since information is scant: the directors and brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne make films that win international awards; the producers who divide up the European film money doled out in Brussels are very good at investing it into co-productions, and thus Belgium shows up as a producer country in the credits of Third World films; there are plenty of other Belgian actors besides muscle man Jean-Claude van Damme… Actually, people undoubtedly know Belgian films – without being aware that they are from Belgium.

In the past ten years, BNFF has screened 26 films that were produced with Belgian funding or starred Belgian talent. Two films in the festival programmes were from the director duo of Gustave Kervern & Benoit Delepine and Pierre-Paul Renders and Dominique Deruddere, and the latter two have been guests of BNFF as well. In international competition at BNFF, Belgian films have competed for awards on three occasions. Since French-language films from Wallonia have dominated over the years in both competition and ordinary programmes, films from Flanders are receiving more attention in this programme.

The special programme on Belgian film would not reflect the true face of cinematography in that country if it did not include co-productions. Quite a number of directors have received inspiration far from home, such as Peter Brosens in Mongolia “The Colour of Water” and Marion Hänsel in Africa (“Sounds of Sand”). Belgium’s financial contribution is noteworthy in a number of French films as well: the World War II film “Days of Glory” and a film adaptation of a literary classic, “Lady Chatterley”.

“Real” Belgian films often take things to an extreme. The result might be a shock film like “Ex Drummer”, which will be screened in the late night film programme. A dose of foreboding also emanates from the unusual road- movie “Small Gods”. Belgian directors tend to do a good job at not trying to change the world but rather depicting the lives of ordinary people. The wry “The "Only One" tells of the self-dignity of a pensioner with a lot of vitality left, “With Friends Like These!” will be recognizable to everyone who has stood face to face with a dying relationship and independence issues, the erotic thriller “Cages” displays love that crosses the line in the name of saving a relationship.

Other Black Nights programmes also feature films with a Belgian tie-in. The Moroccan prison film “Hell in Tangier” covers the topic of human rights, François Ozon’s “Angel“ tells of a love of a lifetime, and “Blind” tells of a really big love of a lifetime. Also in the programme is Belgian director Sam Garbanski’s commercial hit “Irina Palm”, and the children and youth film festival Just Film will screen an historical adventure movie, “Crusade in Jeans”.

“Focus on Belgium” was made possible by support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium and the French Community and Flemish Community. Flanders Image and the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur provided assistance in putting together the programme.

Tiina Teras
Programme Coordinator













prg. mart kalmo