Monthly Archives: April 2015

End-of-the-month highlights

2015.04.22 Turquaze Vooruit

Interviewing Kadir Balci (r)

Last week was full of education tasks and lectures and talks on a variety of subjects, such as the international film industry, the internationalization of contemporary Flemish cinema and government film policy in Belgium and Europe. By far the most engaging education activity was interviewing director Kadir Balci after a screening of his 2010 film Turquaze. This event took place in the framework of a project week focusing on ‘diversity’ for first year students political and social sciences at Ghent University. Apart from the hundreds of students enjoying the film, probably the most memorable moment was when after the event, an older woman came to the director, saying she had seen the film already twice on television, but that she enjoyed it even more on the big screen at the Vooruit.

taxi teheran

Another highlight was seeing Jafar Panahi’s wonderful latest film Taxi Teheran, about life, Iran, fiction and non-fiction, but mostly about cinema and love for cinema. Furthermore, I finally managed to see Kings of Convenience, something I was looking forward to since I was 18. They performed at the Handelsbeurs in Gent, playing their first album Quiet is the new loud from the first to the last note, interrupted by an interview on stage. Intimate and beautiful.

Kings of Convenience at Handelsbeurs, Gent

Kings of Convenience at Handelsbeurs, Gent

Last days in Paris

These are the last days of my research stay in Paris and I’m trying to get the most out of it, mainly in terms of visiting museums (the brand new and magnificent Fondation Luis Vuitton – in an overwhelming ‘sailing ship’ building by Frank Gehry, I discovered the touching work of Helene Schjerfbeck and enjoyed some classics, most notably some playful works of Picasso and the juxtaposition of Giacometti drawings with Bacon paintings –, the unavoidable Louvre – or at least its stunning Near Eastern collection – and yes, even the Eiffel Tower) and grabbing the many opportunities to attend special film screenings.


The Fondation Luis Vuitton building by Frank Gehry


Poster for Lucifer (2014, Gust Van den Berghe)

One highlight was the screening of Belgian director Gust Van den Berghe’s Lucifer, which I had missed during the Ghent Film Fest in October and which after a week of playing in a Ghent cinema was taken out of circulation, due to a commercial logic that doesn’t allow a film to grow any longer. But also in the cinephile city of Paris, the French première of the film couldn’t attract a full house, despite the attendance of the director himself, who provided an animated and insightful Q&A session. It’s a true pity, because although I found Lucifer a bit less compelling than Van den Berghe’s previous films, it still is a highly original, spiritual, intelligent and humoristic film.


The auditorium in the Louvre, where professor Hervé Joubert-Laurencin introduced Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Il vangelo secondo Matteo


Further, (although I had some unspoken suspicions before) I have officially declared the 1960s as my favorite period in film history after having watched the Brazilian Noite Vazia (1964, Walter Hugo Khouri) in the Cinémathèque, the extremely moving Il vangelo secondo Matteo (1964, Pier Paolo Pasolini) in the auditorium of the Louvre and three films of Michelangelo Antonioni in the Cinémathèque. Particularly watching Il deserto rosso was an unequalled emotional and esthetic expierence, not only because of Monica Vitti’s touching struggle with life, but also because of the countless superb industrial images – I have never seen such pollution depicted in such a beautiful way before.


Monica Vitti in Il deserto rosso


Poster for the Antonioni exposition in the Cinemathèque française

The Antonioni screenings are accompanying the temporary exposition on the modernist Italian director at the Cinémathèque. It’s a very nice exposition, but after the preceding extremely revealing and encompassing exposition on François Truffaut, I had expected even more. I found the other temporary exposition on (mainly French) set decoration rather boring, but luckily, there’s always the permanent collection of the Cinémathèque, which again made me dream of those pioneering years in film history…


The Cinémathèque hosts the exceptional collection of Will Day (sometimes called the world’s first film history collector), which includes the collection of film pioneer William Friese Greene


Cinephile objects in the Cinémathèque’s permanent collection: the central theme of Man Ray’s ‘L’étoile de mer’ and a prop from Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s ‘Un chien andalou’