Brussels at Image by Bilal Fallah and Adil El Arbi
by Aurore Engelen
- First noir and urban feature for the two young directors, winners of the VAF Wild Card in 2011 for their short film Broeders
Today marks the release in cinemas of Image, a first feature by duo Bilal Fallah and Adil El Arbi. The two friends, former students of the Saint Lukas School, in 2011 with their movie Broeders featured among the winners of the VAF Wild Card, a Flemish audiovisual Funds programme for documentary, animation or fiction short films that awards grants for directing new short films. With a budget of €60,000, Fallah and El Arbi decide to step it up a gear, and to direct a feature film, like a carte blanche that they can use as a business card. That’s what Image is. They succeed in convincing Hendrik Verthé and Kobe Van Steenberghe at A Team Productions, who obtain some additional financing, and help them to bring together an experienced cast (Laura Verlinden, Geert van Rampelberg, Gene Bervoets) alongside newcomer Nabil Mallat. The film was shot in commando conditions in the spring of 2013. Fallah and El Arbi wanted to make an urban movie, in which Brussels is a fully-fledged character, openly quoting among their influences New York films by Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee.
The film follows the footsteps of Eva Hendrickx, an ambitious young journalist who works as part of TV legend Herman Verbeeck’s team. She is determined to make a documentary on the troubled neighbourhoods in Brussels. While violence spreads throughout the city, Eva meets Lahbib, a young Moroccan with a troubled past. He takes her into his brutal and complicated world. But between the little whizz kid and the media mogul, the most honest person is not necessarily whom we might think.
Co-produced with Eyeworks, Image is distributed by Kinepolis in 21 cinema theatres, mainly in Brussels and in Flanders. Fallah and El Arbi are already in the middle of making their second feature film, Black, shot this summer in Brussels.
(Translated from French)