March 6, 2016
After the critical success that Belgian cinema enjoyed in the 1960s and 1970s, it was not until the late 1990s that a true revival occurred. It were two brothers from the south, Jean-Pierre and Luc, that put Belgium on the map again. The Dardenne brothers already started making documentaries in the late 1970s, but it wasn’t until they turned their socio-politically oriented efforts on to feature length fiction filmmaking that international recognition started following. Their first big success was La Promesse (1996), incorporating all the trappings that the brothers would become famous for: a rawly realistic focus on the socio-economic situation of young adults in Wallonia shot in a handheld aesthetic. Their first fiction efforts were markedly different, however. With the short Il court, il court, le monde (1987) the brothers wink to the Futurists and the hectic pace of the modern world. In their first feature fiction film Falsch (1987), a theatrical and absurdly expressionist piece, a Jewish man arrives at the Ostend airport only to be confronted with family members that lost their lives in the concentration camps.
Organized by Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program with the generous support of The General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the U. S.
Vito Adriaensens is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches in the Film Department, and a postdoctoral Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation. He holds a PhD from the University of Antwerp and has also taught at the VU University in Amsterdam and the School of Arts, University College in Ghent. His research focuses on the interaction between cinema and visual and performing arts.