‘Zero Hour?’ Symposium + Film Programme

Un 'Soir' de joie

On Wednesday 21 February, the universities of Ghent, Antwerp, and Namur are collaborating to present a two-day symposium on post-war Belgian cinema. The symposium ‘Zero Hour?’ combines a multitude of different approaches to reflect on how Belgian film production and culture is constructed between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s, when selective government support systems for Dutch- and French-language films were introduced. It is part of the FWO-funded research project ‘Screening Multiple Identities. National, subnational and transnational discourses in post-war Belgian cinema’. On the ruins of World War II, Belgium seeks to rebuild itself. As cinema attendance reached record levels in the post-war years, Belgian filmmakers wondered what local film production and culture could look like. The symposium is organized by Gertjan Willems, Bénédicte Rochet and Bjorn Gabriels, and will be held at Hoek38 in Brussels. More information here.

In collaboration with CINEMATEK, five film screenings have also been curated, all of which will be introduced by symposium participants. Continuing a pre-war tradition, humor played a significant role. Brussels-based filmmaker Gaston Schoukens, known for his popular folk comedies, reflected on the resistance with the film Un ‘Soir’ de joie, while documentary filmmaker Henri Stork, in his only feature film Le banquet des fraudeurs, wittily observed the establishment of the Benelux. The program starts on Friday the 9th of February with the neorealist work Déjà s'envole la fleur maigre by Paul Meyer, which contemplates the lives of migrants in the Borinage region. Other films include Il y a un train toutes les heures (André Cavens, 1961), Un autre monde (Serge Vandercam, Christian Dotremont & Henri Kessels, 1958) and Perséphone (Luc de Heusch, 1951). Find the full program here.

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