“Birds do not sing in caves, nor do doves cherish their innocence in dovecots.” (Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862).

There is only one living soul who claims the N6 as his own. He lives under bridges, he takes his afternoon naps in Ikea’s front garden, he waves to the passers-by, bidding them welcome. ACM is a walker-philosopher-architect-sculptor-scavenger. He was born in Cameroon and ended-up in Belgium. He is the only person Els Dietvorst met on the N6 who walks. He is the only one who looked her in the eye and asked her ‘serious’ questions. ACM has been homeless for about four years. When Els Dietvorst met him he lived in an abandoned industrial building near the Brussels-Charleroi canal, parallel to the N6. He is charming and clever, and he makes his home on human wastelands where nobody wants to live. But ownership, even of the most worthless places, still results in him being chased away. Everywhere he hangs his hat they clean up. It seems his presence is a signal that it is time to clear the space. At the very moment Els wanted to make a film, he disappeared. His shed had burnt down and she duly recuperated drawings and belongings from the rubble. She had a very good idea of his lifestyle and daily habits, having had visited him regularly. She reconstructed these situations using an actor. The film 'As Long as the Blackbird Sings' is based on what she could experience of ACM’s life, mixed with experiences and stories from ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau. Both characters question civilization’s eagerness to embrace commerce and globalization. Thoreau’s choice of being a hermit was an intellectual one; ACM did not have a choice. Although the places he makes his home tend to be on the edge of urban areas, they are surrounded by trees and scavenging birds that, just like him, are on the edge of society. “Els, the only contact I have with the world is the free Metro newspaper and you.”

  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 2009
  • Duration 00:29:13
  • Artists