Seuls: Le chantier des gosses / Introduction

On the occasion of the online screening of Le chantier des gosses, Ruben Demasure introduces the first feature film of Jean Harlez (Belgium, 1924), set in the Marolles in the 1950s. The narrow streets of this working-class Brussels neighborhood are full with kids. The Marolles is a playground for kids until one day workmen shake up the neighborhood. The children declare war on them. A film about Brussels in the 1950s, in collaboration with the inhabitants. Visiting the shoot, the Belgian Sunday paper Germainal reacted enthusiastically to this debut film in a new genre: “the first Belgian neo-realist full-length film!” But the film had a somewhat unfortunate history. Shot in the 1950s, the film only premiered in 1970 when funds were found for the audio postproduction. After this premiere, the film unfortunately fell into oblivion. Until a team member of the Brussels cinema Cinema Nova accidentally met Jean Harlez many years later and the ball started rolling again. Nova made a new 35mm copy and gave Le chantier des gosses its first commercial release in 2014 with great success. The film ran for almost two months.