On March 10th at 20:30 CET, Seuls: Short Work 1’ will premiere on Avila, a short film programme compiled by Sabzian. This selection is an adaptation of the first Seuls programme, organised by Sabzian in 2017 and screened at the KASKcinema in Ghent. Seuls. Singular Moments in Belgian Film History is a series of film programs accompanied by the publication of unique texts by Belgian filmmakers and writers on Sabzian’s website.
Filmmaker, cinema and Zen teacher Konrad Maquestieau once typified Belgian cinema anti-conformist: "This country harbours a tradition in which individuals, completely unrelated to each other, manage to make films in the most idiosyncratic way. Films that do not conform to any norm, regulation, school, fashion or theory. Their images are unique. The 'tradition' is characterised by independence, diversity, subjectivity, daring, inventiveness, audacity, and humorous subversion. Here, the inexhaustible imagination is central." The name Seuls ties in with this; it brings into focus a film culture consisting of a kinship between soloists who explore all possible mechanisms of imagination.
The short film programme reflects the diversity of Belgian cinema: Images d'Ostende (1929) by Henri Storck, a poetic portrait of Ostend; Oggi è Primavera (1988), a dramatic act in miniature by Claudio Pazienza; White Flame (1930) by Charles Dekeukeleire, about a man taking part in a demonstration at the IJzer Tower; Dimanche, a contemplation on the concept of "free time" by Edmond Bernhard from 1963; but also La chambre (1972), a self-portrait of Chantal Akerman in her bedroom, her first short film Saute ma ville (1968) and a cinematic letter by Éric Pauwels to Jean Rouch, one of the key figures of cinéma vérité in France.
Director Edmond Bernhard once told an interviewer that Belgian filmmakers experience their medium as a "remarkable instrument of ambiguity". This ambiguity and stratification mentioned by Bernhard about applies to all the films in the programme and shows similarities with surrealism, which is the theme of the next short film programme Seuls: Short Work 2’, which will be screened on Avila in April.
To celebrate this special occasion Sabzian and Avila are offering the first 250 coupons for free. When the limit of coupons has been reached, the film programme will still remain available on the Avila-platform. The online premiere is free and available for viewing in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The films with dialogue are always available with Dutch, French and/or English subtitles. The programme will be accompanied by articles in several languages.
Introduction by filmmaker and Sabzian editor Nina de Vroome:
Seuls. Singular Moments in Belgian Film History is a series of film programs accompanied by the publication of unique texts by Belgian filmmakers and writers on Sabzian’s website. It is often said that cinephiles don’t know or are rarely appreciative of their own national cinema. Film critic Adrian Martin “observe[s] a very intriguing dimension of cinephile thought: namely, the usually feisty way it negotiates a fraught relation with the cinephile’s own national cinema. Indeed, I sometimes think I can spot a cinephile by the intensity of their hatred for their national cinema.” With this series of film evenings, Sabzian aims to chart the wayward landscape of Belgian cinema with images, sounds and words, by means of an affectionate countermovement.
The films of Chantal Akerman, Charles Dekeukeleire and Edmond Bernhard were restored by CINEMATEK, the Royal Belgian Film Archive. Images d’Ostende is part of the Henri Storck Foundation catalog.
With the support of the Flemish government