Country Focus: Belgium
CCA review: tendencies and perspectives
by Aurore Engelen
- This 2011 review of the Film Selection Commission shows the emergence of young female directors in Belgium. Out of the 46 projects supported last year, 15 were directed by women. Belgium cinema has several successful female pioneers, including Chantal Akerman (pictured - whose film Almayer’s Folly [+see also:
film profile] has just come out in cinemas) and Marion Hansel (whose 11th film, La Tendresse, lit. “Tenderness”, was supported this year and is now being filmed). Soon in cinemas will be Vania Leturcq’s first film (L’Année Prochaine, lit. “Next year”), and second films by Delphine Lehericey (Puppy Love) and Bénédicte Liénard (Le Chant des Hommes, lit. “Men’s song”, with Mary Jimenez).
The review also highlighted a difference in genre between new and established film directors.
The directors who gave Belgian cinema its drive over the last decade seem to have decided to laugh. Benoît Mariage will continue to work with Benoît Poelvoorde in Akwaba, while Sam Gabarski will direct the comedy Vijay and I. As for Fabrice Du Welz and the Malandrin brothers, we are eagerly awaiting their slightly off-the-wall road movies, Alleluia and Je suis mort mais j’ai des amis (lit. “I am dead but I have friends”). What a programme!
As for Belgium’s first-time directors, adolescence was a common theme last year in Keeper by Guillaume Senez, L’Année Prochaine, Puppy Love, and Twa Timoun by Jonas d’Adesky, as was politics, with established screenwriter Luc Jabon’s first attempt at directing in Retour à Tirana (lit. “Return to Tirana”), and Annapurna, a politically engaged crime film by Nabil Ben Yadir.
Last year will also have been marked by real political goodwill, and over €400,000 in investments to develop fictions for television. Over the last few years, the commission had supported on average one television film and only one television series per year. The change this year is radical. Thanks to this new budget, the commission has already selected four projects for television films and nine projects for television series. The RTBF, Belgium’sFrench-speaking state television channel, has confirmed its intention to reinforce its production role so that it is able to suggest an evening of Belgian productions to its viewers no less than 40 times a year. We will have our eyes on Belgian television during the next months then, eager to see tomorrow’s talent in full bloom.