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  • CINEMACADEMY: Belgium surrealism - cancelled

CINEMACADEMY: Belgium surrealism - cancelled

UPDATE! Due to the stricter measures concerning the coronavirus, this film programme has been cancelled.


Curated by Prof. Dr. Steven Jacobs (University Antwerp and University Ghent) and Geert Goiris (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp).

This programme on Belgium surrealism is composed of the short films ‘Mr. Fantômas’ (Ernst Moerman, 1937), ‘Histoire de détective’ (Charles De Keukeleire, 1929) and ‘Le Monde de Paul Delvaux’ (Henri Storck, 1946).

The films will be introduced by professor film history Steven Jacobs (in Dutch).
The first two films will be accompanied by live piano music by Hilde Nash.

>> CINEMACADEMY is an initiative by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in collaboration with the University of Antwerp and De Cinema



‘Mr. Fantômas’, Ernst Moerman, 1937 (24’)
Shot on a shoestring budget on a beach and in an old cloister, the style of this scathing surrealist satire is immediately recognizable as that of the Feuillade serials. ln top hat and tails, the Master of Crime, Mr. Fantômas, tours the world in pursuit of the beautiful Elvire, punctuating his travels with mischief and acts to offend proper decency. The film encompasses amour fou, the meanders of dreams, fanatical anti-clericalism and a plea for subversion and adventure in “a world where nothing is impossible, where the miracle is the shortest route from our uncertainty to mystery” (E. Moerman).

‘Histoire de détective’, Charles De Keukeleire, 1929 (37’)
‘Histoire de détective’ is conceived as a film-within-a-film. The story concerns Mme. Jonathan, who hires T, a detective, to trail her neurasthenic husband around Belgium and Luxembourg. T uses a motion-picture camera to follow M. Jonathan, and most of ‘Histoire’ is taken up with T’s shaky, idiosyncratic footage of street scenes and local architecture. Providing few clues of their own, T’s digressive shots are interrupted by elaborately designed intertitles that bear almost all of the narrative information of the film. This distended structure plays with the tropes of the crime serial, but almost sadistically denies the viewer any of the genre’s expected visual pleasures in favor of less obvious effects. “My greatest concern,” De Keukeleire once noted, “is to make the camera’s lens live like the eye, like a glance... conditioned by the inner life."

‘Le Monde de Paul Delvaux’, Henri Storck, 1946 (11’)
‘Le Monde de Paul Delvaux’ is an historic film since it is the first that Henri Storck made about art. The film places the exploration of the painting in the foreground and accompanies it with a text and music of great quality. It is a cinematographic poem wherein the director takes the role of decoder of a pictorial universe. In ‘Le Monde de Paul Delvaux’ the camera follows the bodies, the architecture, the perspectives by revealing their story and the emotions they summon. The camera runs over the paintings like an eye reads a story. The music and the text also play on the principle of equivalence that echoes the force of the image and gives the soundtrack the role of poetical amplifier. The lack of colour, which could have been the death of the painting, in fact gives it an added, secret dimension, that of a reading where meaning is as important as the pictorial aspect.