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BERLIN 2006 Belgium

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A complete panorama at the Forum


Belgium made a splash last year in Berlin’s Panorama section (with Ultranova [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Bouli Lanners
film profile
and the minority co-production Live and Become [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Denis Carot
interview: Didar Domehri
interview: Radu Mihaileanu
film profile
). This year, Berlin welcomes five Belgian productions and co-productions, which, for the most part, are screening in the section that offers the most discoveries and the most audacious innovations: the Forum.

With Down There (Là-Bas), well-known Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman returns to documentaries after her latest detour into fiction, Tomorrow We Move. Shot entirely in a Tel Aviv apartment, the director appears to refuse to take sides in the conflict in the Middle East, explaining that, due to her origins, it was a difficult issue: "It was too obvious – Israel and me, Chantal Akerman." Instead, she wanted to occupy an environment that is slowly turned inside out – “down there” becomes “here” – through a still frame. In collaboration with French company AMIP, who hold international rights, Là-Bas was co-produced by Belgium’s Paradise Films.

Congo River by Thierry Michel (Mobutu, Roi du Zaïre, Iran, sous le voile des apparences) is the other Belgian documentary in the Forum, a French-Belgian co-production from Les Films de la Passerelle. Also of note is Belgium’s involvement in Amos Gitaï’s News From Home, which received financial support from Artémis Productions, previously involved with Free Zone. The Belgian company may well collaborate on the Israeli director’s next fiction project as well.

Belgian revelations could come perhaps from less well-known names, as the Forum is also screening Combat by Patrick Carpentier, the last part of a trilogy entitled “L'irrégularité de la déchirure", which began with two medium-length films, God is a Dog and Les 9 Mardis. Multi-talented and versatile, Carpentier comes from the world of theatre, music and drama and has been working for several years on his intimate, experimental films. This second feature, following the 2003 documentary La peur tue l'amour, is also his second film to be produced by production company Thank You & Good Night, who have been with him from the beginning of his career.

Finally, in the Kinderfilmfest section, Sophie Schoukens makes a remarkable film debut with Alice or Life in Black and White, her first feature, which she produced through her own production company, Sophimages.

(Translated from French)

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