VIDEO LIBRARY

SCREENING

Hotel Monterey
Chantal Akerman


16 mm. | 00:63:00 | col.
silent

New York, United States. Akermans’ film debut makes use of long uninterrupted shots to record the empty interiors of her New York hotel. The extremely realistic perspective of the noticeably present camera keeps oscillating between strict examination of the architectural space (lines, forms, colours, perspective-illusion) and the instance of a frame of mind. Radical minimalism – no story, no people, no sound - as a documentary strategy of confrontation and meditation (in stead of communication and information).

Devenir
Loredana Bianconi


video | 00:79:50 | col.
spoken | french

Brussels, Belgium. An everyday event becomes a starting point for a deep reflection on the familiar world as an alien place. A woman of 45 is out of a job. The filmmaker follows her friend for more than two years and in her search for a job she discerns the signs of these times. Averse to any recordings of discussions or reconstructions of situations, Bianconi leads the viewer on a tranquil trip past several locations. With her added commentary these locations raise individual as well as collective questions about the forms of labour and happiness and the (im)possibility to maintain their identity in a competitive world.

Voyage à Paris
Jef Cornelis


video | 00:51:00 | col.
spoken | nl or fr

Paris, France. ‘The capital of the 19th century’ appears as the background for a reflection on seeing and being seen. The myth of modern existence came about in the capital of light and there it lives on as a consumption dream of city trippers, fashion victims and window shoppers. Cornelis (and sociologist Rudi Laermans) define this key location in visual culture making use of literary sources: quotes from Apollinaire, Balzac, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Daudet, Rilke and Zola bear witness of the temptations as well as the booby traps in this artificial metropolitan paradise.

Shift of Attention
Manon De Boer


video | 00:52:00 | col.
spoken | english

Los Angeles, United States. A friend of the filmmaker sits down facing towards the camera. Without a word she listens to her own account, told by someone else. A single uninterrupted shot, without any editing cuts: her face shows her memory at work. At times she recognises her own words, and a little later it’s as if she hears her story for the first time. L.A. appears and disappears without ever entering the picture. Seeing becomes tangible in itself: gradually the screen changes in a mirror, in which a spectator and a ‘character’ look at one another.

Portal
Anouk de Clercq


video | 00:13:21 | b&w
spoken | english

Somewhere, nowhere. Geo-graphics of an inner landscape? Nature view of a distant future? De Clercq shows the digital universe as an organic world. A fake sequence shot, both compelling and alienating, guides the viewer towards the open horizon of a mental space. The documentary impulse seen through the computer, the essayist perspective as a speculation in unadulterated science fiction-style.

Coming From The Wrong Side/ Het spoor van de zalm (Travelogue 4)
Stefaan Decostere


video | 00:54:00 | col.
spoken | english

Banff, Canada. A portrait of the Canadian Rockies as an alibi for an investigation into the parallels between television and tourism. Nature and culture reveal themselves as layered constructions in which visitors and local inhabitants perform their tasks with diligence. The TV-maker and his soundtrack composer (John Oswald) sample reality. The effects are as important, or more so, than what is shown. Their image and sound manipulations act as dense criticism on the (re)presentation of the tourist fiction and force documentary conventions to come apart at the seams.

Tourist Renouncement

Video | 00:18:48 | col.
sound

Togo, West-Africa. In 1995 the Liège videomaker films a series of performances in his trusty absurdly surrealist style. As a White Man he climbs a palm tree, sticking his behind in a nest of mosquitoes. As a Blue Man he goes one step further in his caricature of a European tourist in heavenly Africa. Ten years later Delmotte moulds his grotesque interpretation of (neo)colonial relations between the continents into a document which stands midway between documentary, fictitious narrative and playful video art.

Messieurs Delmotte

Messieurs Delmotte (°1967) studied at the Liège Saint-Luc institute and he focuses mainly on photography, video and ‘performance’. His work fits in with the best Belgian surrealist tradition, somewhere between reality and imagination, between brilliance and dilettantism. In his videos he translates his unbridled boyish pranks, his sneers at the institutionalized art world in one-man actions, as simple as they are absurd, as reflections of the schizophrenic identity of the artist. His video work was presented, among others at the Museum of Modern Art Philadelphia, the New York Underground Festival and the museum for contemporary art MUHKA (Antwerp).

Jean Rouch – Premier film 1947/ 1991
Dominique Dubosc


16 mm. | 00:26:00 | col. & b&w
| french

The film debut of Jean Rouch, Au Pays des Mages Noirs, was not his first film. He was forced to sell his recordings from Niger to ‘Actualités françaises’ who turned them into an exotic perspective on Dark Africa, with comments by the Tour de France sports reporter of that time. Forty years later the filmmaker takes a look at the ‘original’ and then he provides a commentary of his own during the projection of his images. In an instant the prehistoric landscapes, wild animals and barbaric rituals from the colonial journal change into the natural habitat for the customs and traditions of a community.

Kobarweng, or Where Is Your Helicopter?

video | 00:24:30 | col.
non spoken | english text

Pepera, Indonesia. Less accessible areas in the highlands on the island aren’t visited by the white outside world until the war in the South Pacific, when a plane skims over or crashes in the forest. Around ‘59 a child sees how a helicopter drops food parcels over the region. Years later he asks the filmmaker who visits him in the OK Bon-valley: ‘Where is your helicopter?’. Combining found footage, tense silence, text quotes from the ethnographical classics and his own account of this surreal encounter Grimonprez deconstructs the anthropological notion of ‘first contact’.

Pepera, Indonesia. Less accessible areas in the highlands on the island aren’t visited by the white outside world until the war in the South Pacific, when a plane skims over or crashes in the forest. Around ‘59 a child sees how a helicopter drops food parcels over the region. Years later he asks the filmmaker who visits him in the OK Bon-valley: ‘Where is your helicopter?’. Combining found footage, tense silence, text quotes from the ethnographical classics and his own account of this surreal encounter Grimonprez deconstructs the anthropological notion of ‘first contact’.

http://www.zapomatik.com

Cadavre Exquis
Ronny Heiremans

video | 00:10:42 | col.
spoken | dutch | english

Brussels – Niagara. The filmmaker descends into the dated home cinema of Pierre Querut, former film producer, distributor and director of tourist documentaries. The man digs up a lost piece on the Niagara Falls from his 35mm archives and during this closed projection he automatically recovers his former professional actions. Melancholy of matter: mounting the film reel, gluing together a piece of celluloid and commenting on the 25-year-old promotional film, his past is revived through the working of the cinematic device.

A la recherche du lieu de ma naissance
Boris Lehman


16 mm. | 00:75:00 | col.
spoken | french

Lausanne, Switzerland. The filmmaker was born there towards the very end of World War II, and he did not spend more than twelve months there. Forty-four years later he returns, with nothing but a couple of photographs and letters from that period in his pockets. Obstinately he sets out on a discovery of the roots of his (Jewish) identity, visiting meaningful locations (Lac Léman), consulting registers, furrowing magazines and newsreels. In his usual artisan style Lehman turns a biographical journey in time into a philosophical investigation about the invisible origins of things.

Episode 1
Renzo Martens


video | 00:44:00 | col.
spoken | en & ru

Grozny, Tjetjsenië. A travel account of a daring trip into a distressing war zone. Martens turns himself in to the object of his film, he invites the viewer to contemplate on the role of confrontational images in an oversaturated media landscape. His low-budget documentary does not concern victims or geopolitics, but rather the conditions of his own existence. Is it possible for a wealthy Westerner simply to travel into a disaster area in order to find out the truth about himself? Can a filmmaker be genuinely concerned with the situation in the world or is his social commitment nothing but auto-reflection and auto-promotion?

L’empiètement du coton graine

video | 00:07:26 | col.
spoken | interlingua | english

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Meessens’ ‘document brut’ records his actions in the busy streets of the African capital with a candid camera. Dressed and masked in a cotton tuft costume he silently moves between the crowds. The reactions soon follow: the white man as a strange, primitive apparition is faced with indifference, mockery and amazement. His use of Burkinabese ‘white gold’ as a garment turns the public space into a magnetic field, charged with poetry based on unspoken symbolical, political and economic meanings.

Vincent Meessen

Vincent Meessen (°1971) was born in Baltimore, but he lives and works in Brussels. He studied journalism and cultural policies, he was active as a social worker and photographer and for the moment (2004-2005) he is a student at the HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts) in Antwerp. His work develops mainly around the idea of "disputed spaces”- territory as a political issue. Once preferring photography as a medium, he now explores a multitude of media, including video. His work has been shown, among others, during the exhibitions Pistes and Event #02 (Netwerk Galerij, Aalst) and Ename Actueel. He also published the photo book Qui-vive (La Lettre Volie, 2003).

http://www.normal.be

imovie (one): the agony of silence
Els Opsomer


video | 00:13:00

Els Opsomer made this video with the amateur software iLife. It is a video letter to her friends, an introspective account of a short visit to the Palestine. Pictures which were taken there are widely and deeply explored and edited, with the content of the letter as subtitles. Musing she asks herself questions about the preservation of human integrity in an area where violence is experienced in daily doses, where human dignity is being affected day in, day out on different levels and throughout different generations. “Brutal MEMORY erasing sweetness – Only fragmented thoughts submerge day and night”, she finds, in an attempt to grasp personal integrity and sensibility in the complex rag of reality. The atmosphere of melancholy is drawn out further by the accompanying, minimalist soundtrack of Stefaan Quix.

Lettre à Jean Rouch
Eric Pauwels


16 mm. | 00:06:40 | b&w
spoken | french

Tokio, Japan. A cinematic letter to a friend, a mentor, a monument. A double portrait of visual anthropologist Jean Rouch and himself. Pauwels undertakes a trip into memories, he muses on the essence of film(making) and life. In the wake of his former teacher he considers cinema as ‘an improvisational exercise on the gift of the image’ and ‘a training experience in looking at the Other’. Here filming is designated as a way of looking at the world, simultaneously implying a way of being in that world.

1995-1999(New York – Paris – Venise)

video | 00:08:00

Anne Penders Anne Penders (°1968) lives between Brussels and Elsewhere. She obtained a Ph.D. in contemporary art history and she studied photography, and she is a scientific collaborator at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and an assistant at l’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Visuels La Cambre. Her literary and audiovisual work explores the idea of a journey as ‘presence/absence’, the idea of a ‘home’ perpetually in transit. Traveling, as a life style, means constantly ‘disappearing’. It means that you are somewhere without actually being there, maybe even being present when you are not there; it is leaving without leaving a trace, or capturing the trace of others; it is being endlessly confronted to the fundamental impossibility to share the experience one has undergone. She has published some essays and novels and she has exhibited, among other places, in the Botanique (Brussels), the musée d’art moderne et contemporain (Liège) and the Provinciaal centrum voor Kunst en Cultuur (Ghent).

Perm Mission
Rob Rombouts


video | 00:50:00 | col.
spoken | fr & ru

Perm, Russia. A documentary maker travels to the bottom of the Urals after an invitation by a local film festival. Usually this travelling filmmaker does not reflect on his medium, but this time he takes film and filming as his subject. Far removed from Europe and Moscow a new generation of enthusiastic Russian filmmakers break unexpected ground: they swear by Flaherty and abhor Vertov. Their heated film-theoretical debates at –25°C rewrite cinematic history as thoroughly as Perestroika altered world they live in.

Lever de drapeau papou filmé par un otage
Philippe Simon


video | 00:44:00 | col.
spoken

Papua, Indonesia. During a walking expedition Philippe Simon and Johan Van den Eynde are taken prisoner by the rebels of OPM, the armed wing of the local independence movement. After two months of being a hostage (of all communities the one where they had planned a long-term stay), filmmaker Simon is forced by the hijackers to make a propaganda film. The obligatory topic is a subversive ritual, forbidden by the government: a symbolic salute to the Papua-flag. Without any explanation the film makes use of the perspective of a hostage, but with a simple twist of the camera towards the end a (mental) escape is staged.

People’s Daily
Jeroen Van der Stock


video | 00:59:00 | col.
spoken | interlingua

Scenes from everyday life in India, Japan and the Middle-East. Without any storyline or intrigue, derived of any commentary, without interviews: Van der Stock contemplates in long uninterrupted takes on the apparent simplicity of the moment. His real-time realism holds awe for reality and respect for the viewer. With nothing but natural light, live sound and ordinary people he sets up an ecology of filming (‘A forest is as convenient to a film spot as a desert to a penguin’).

Rétroviseurs
Laurent Van Lancker
Christian Coppin


video | 00:28:30 | col.
spoken | french

Dakar – Kolda, Senegal. During a car trip from the city to the country a driver and his passengers discuss politics, religion, colonialism and African cinema. The landscape changes while opinions are exchanged, rephrased, fine-tuned. Visual anthropologist Van Lancker makes documentaries which allow him to meet people he can share a little part of his life with. Dialogue and exchange are his most important tools; they lead to working with locals and situations, making use of local film aesthetics.

World Of Blue/ Land of O

video | 00:52:24 | col.
spoken | french | english

Brussels, Belgium. A hospital in the inner city. Three patients in the infectious diseases ward. In this precarious and isolated existence the ill are involved in a fight with their own mind and body. The filmmaker is a privileged witness of an utterly personal event, but he consciously avoids the customary human interest approach. Van Paeschen reports on his encounter with the radical Other. Human confrontation turns into cinematographic confrontation: he denies himself, nor the viewer, any release.

Bram Van Paesschen Bram Van Paesschen (°1979) lives and works in Brussels, where he studied film at the Sint-Lukas Instituut. His graduation project Rookgordijn boven Brussel (or Pas de feu sans fumée, 2003) was well received from the start on various festivals, such as FID Marseille and the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente. To his own surprise the documentary around the legendary fire in the Brussels’ department store INNO became a Belgian cult-hit.

Nachtelijke bezoekers

video | 00:34:00 | col.
spoken

Yunnan, South-West China. The filmmaker evokes her trip to and her stay with the Mosuo-women community by Lake Lugu. In this rare matriarchal culture a unique form of polyandry prevails, which is based on love: the women have several men and they maintain their economic independence. In China on the verge of modernity they have become as much a tourist attraction as an ethnographical object of research. Visual anthropologist Van Dienderen ‘writes’ an ethnography of ethnography: an encounter between two involved sides - filmmaker and subject – unravels itself in front of the eyes of the spectator like an exchange.

An van. Dienderen

An van. Dienderen (°1971) studied art history and audiovisual arts and she took classes with Trinh Minh-Ha in Berkeley (US). In 2004 she obtained a PhD in Comparative Cultural Studies at the university in Ghent. She realized such documentaries as Nachtelijke bezoekers (1998), a poetic piece about the matriarch community of the Mosuo-women in the province of Yunnan in China, and Site, a topographical portrait of José Besprosvany, and she gives regular lectures and workshops on visual anthropology. Her work has been shown on the Margaret Mead Film and Video festival (New York), Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley), Belluard Festival (Fribourg) and Cultural Film Festival of Australia (South Melbourne).

http://www.elektrischer schnellseher.com

After Years of Walking

video | 00:35:00 | col.
spoken | interlingua

Rwanda. In schools and history books the 1994 genocide still isn’t discussed. On the spot the filmmaker provokes a confrontation with the recent past using a film from 1959: ‘Fils d’Imana’ (‘Sons of God’) is a ‘documentary’ by the Flemish White Friars, drenched in white theory about racial differences between Tutsis and Hutus. Because of the upcoming independence the missionaries decided not to show their film in public. In April 2002 Vanagt does show it, and after the projection children, teachers, students, and historians get to talk about their search for a self-image with a future.

Sarah Vanagt

Sarah Vanagt (°1976) studied History at the universities of Antwerp, Groningen and Brighton. Apart from a passion for history, there is one for film as well. Sarah Vanagt looked for a combination and found it by carrying out historical research from the practice of film. In order to develop a cinematic language of her own she started training at the London National Film and Television School (‘documentary direction’ department). During that time she worked mainly with refugee children from Rwanda and their perception of and relation to the past. This resulted in the graduation project After Years of Walking (2003).Her work has been shown, among others, at the IDFA (International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam),, the Amnesty International Film Festival (West Hollywood), Les Ecrans Documentaires Val-de-Marne (Parijs) and in Tate Modern (Londen). She lives and works in Brussels.

Closed District
Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd


video | 00:54:57 | b&w
spoken | interlingua | french

Mankien, Sudan. In 1996 the filmmaker stays in a village in South-Sudan in order to record the war. As it turns out the conflict is mostly inspired by economic aspirations. Overwhelmed by feelings of impotence Vandeweerd decides not to make a film out² of the images. It isn’t until eight years later that he uses the material in a harsh contemplation on human misery in times of war. Most of the speakers on screen have died in the meantime, the situation in the area has grown even worse and the issue of a filmmaker’s place in conflict situations is more topical than ever before.

The History of New York (From the Beginning of the World to the Present)
Katleen Vermeir


video | 00:37:00 | col.
non spoken

New York, United States. The artist tries to visualise the history of the capital with chalk marks on the street surface. She outlines the forgone contours of former rivers and swamps, traces ancient Indian travel paths and marks off plans for parks and buildings that have never been realised. Accidental passers-by are unaware of the traces she applies, quickly disappearing again. The camera is a silent witness of her cartographical gesture, documenting just for a moment the stratification of time and space in the city plan.

This event is part of Inner & Outer Worlds, Audiovisual Essays from Belgium

Loredana Bianconi, Devenir