Tag Archives: Steven Jacobs

University of Antwerp

I’m excited to announce that since 1 October, I’m appointed as a part-time assistant professor at the University of Antwerp! After 8 beautiful years of academic endeavours at Ghent University, my main home institution will now be the University of Antwerp, but I will still be 25% FWO postdoctoral fellow in Ghent. In Antwerp, I am connected to the department of Communication Studies, where I teach a course Modern and Contemporary Film Movements, and to the department of Literature, where I’m teaching the courses Film Genres, Adaptation in Theatre, Film and Literature, Text and Representation and Research Seminar Film.

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Guided visit by Bruno Mestdagh at Cinematek

All my courses start in February, except for the Research Seminar Film, which has already started 3 weeks ago. In this course, which I’m co-teaching with Steven Jacobs, we focus on an unknown but highly fascinating film from 1930 by Carlos Queeckers, Het leven eener grote abdij, about the history of the abbey of Tongerlo. The students make an in-depth investigation of the text, production and reception of the film, which was recently digitised by Cinematek (the Royal Belgian Film Archive). The seminar also focuses on how to present research to a broader audience, in the framework of which we visit a number of exhibitions. Last week, we visited a great exposition on the French filmmaker/multimedia artist Chris Marker, Memories of the Future, at BOZAR (the exhibition comes from the Cinémathèque française). Combining an insightful overview of his artistic work with some rare material, it’s definitely worth a visit!

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Chris Marker at BOZAR

 

Akerman’s News from home

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Steven Jacobs introducing Akerman’s film

This afternoon, there was a special screening of Chantal Akerman’s film News from home in the Sphinx cinema in Ghent. A full house with people even sitting in the corridors for Akerman’s 1977 film… a nice tribute to Belgium’s most extraordinary filmmaker indeed. The film was screened partly in honor of Akerman, who unexpectedly passed away two months ago, and partly as a special event in professor Steven Jacobs’ lecture series on the representation of New York.

Akerman inscribes News from home within a city symphonies tradition, displaying the urban infrastructure of roads, subways and car noise. This is accompanied on the soundtrack by Akerman reading letters that her mother wrote her while she was in New York. All letters are variations of the same message: we miss you, we send you some money, we hope you’re happy, you must write us back soon and often. Akerman underlines the repetition by reading the letters in an almost automatic manner. At the end of the film, the fixed and straight shots of the dirty city that New York in 1970s was, are contrasted by the meandering line of a boat, showing every second more of the archetypical New York image, accompanied by seagulls, giving it a romantic layer – leaving NY, heading home?

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