Il Cinema Repubblica

The ‘Gentse Feesten’ (Ghent Festival), one of Europe’s biggest street festivals, hosts countless cultural events, such as concerts, (street) theater, debates and expositions. Until last year, however, a film event was lacking (although the past has seen some attempts to include open air and other film screenings). Il Cinema Repubblica now provides the Gentse Feesten with a film event to be proud of.  This four day silent film festival (17-20 July) is an initiative of the audiovisual company Republic of Reinvention, in collaboration with Cinematek (the Royal Belgian Film Archive, taking care of the film programming together with Cinea) and the School of Arts Gent (providing the beautiful historical setting of the Miry concert hall in the heart of Ghent).

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Bruno Mestdagh (Cinematek) introducing the films of Alfred Machin

All films are accompanied by live music: the first two days by musicians from the conservatory, the last two days by Hilde Nash, Cinematek’s house pianist. The first day had slapstick films, the second day served some rare copies of the Cinematek, the third day (which I attended last night) focused on the films of Alfred Machin and the fourth day combines a Chaplin classic with an early Italian feminist film and an obscure porn film from 1920. Hopefully Il Cinema Repubblica has come to stay!

Summer Film School Rotterdam

Today was the first day of the Summer Film School Rotterdam, an intensive five-day programme of lectures and film screenings organized by the cinephile platform Roffa Mon Amour in co-operation with Cinea, whose yearly Summer Film College in Antwerp served as an inspiration source. The first edition of the Summer Film School Rotterdam focuses on the work of two very different directors: the provocative American filmmaker Brian de Palma and the French ‘Rive Gauche’ director Alain Resnais. The lectures on Brian de Palma are given by film critics Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin, while Alain Resnais’s films are analyzed by film scholars Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam) and Nadine Boljkovac (Falmouth University).

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Patricia Pisters’s lecture on Alain Resnais

The Summer Film School kicked off with a very inspiring lecture by Patricia Pisters. After introducing the serious and the playful Alain Resnais, she provided us with great insights into one of the major threads throughout Resnais’s oeuvre. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s writings, Pisters explained the working of and reflections on time and memory in films such as Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and particularly Je t’aime je t’aime (1968). I hadn’t seen this last film yet, and it was a delightful experience (a nice extra was to see all the Belgian references in the film, as it was shot in Ostend and Brussels). After the Resnais part of the day, Cristina Álvarez López gave an excellent introduction to the early works of Brian de Palma. Adrian Martin subsequently introduced de Palma’s cult musical Phantom of the paradise (1974), which was screened afterwards.

Renewal postdoctoral fellowship

I’m very happy to announce that the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) has granted me a renewal of my postdoctoral fellowship! This means that after having done three years of postdoctoral research, the FWO allows me to continue my research for another three years. I will conduct my research on the film industries and cultures in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg at the Centre for Cinema and Media Studies at Ghent University. A big thank you to my supervisors for their support – ever since I received my first FWO fellowship in 2010 as a PhD fellow: Daniel Biltereyst (Ghent University), Philippe Meers (University of Antwerp) and Roel Vande Winkel (KU Leuven).

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Remaking European Cinema

On 1 June, I organized the symposium ‘Remaking European Cinema’ at Ghent University, together with Eduard Cuelenaere and Stijn Joye . For quite some time, most research in the field of remake studies was confined to the Hollywood practice of remaking non-Hollywood films, or, vice versa, non-Hollywood film industries remaking Hollywood films. Therefore, the purpose of the symposium was to bring together scholars with expertise in the currently vibrant field of remake studies for a discussion of the dynamics and particularities of the film remake in a European context. Keynote speakers were the internationally renowned Thomas Leitch (University of Delaware), Lucy Mazdon (University of Southampton) and Iain R. Smith (King’s College London). There was also an insightful industry talk by Meg Thomson (Globalgate Entertainment). I enjoyed the many excellent presentations (full programme) from academics from all over Europe and beyond. We are now working on publications to disseminate the fruits of this scholarly work… To be continued!