De Imagerie’s Eva Van Tongeren selects six Belgian movies

Having moved to Belgium six years ago from the Netherlands, the now Antwerp-based experimental film-maker Eva Van Tongeren (1990) mostly keeps herself busy with production work for the film collective De Imagerie, and co-curating its film festival Visite at Het Bos. Having already pocketted a VAF Wild Card Award with her beautiful There Are No Whales in France (2015), the promising talent whom we interviewed for our upcoming April-May edition, out next week, is currently working on her next film. An active and increasingly pivotal figure of the local film scene, we asked her to share some of her favourite Belgian movies with us.

1. News From Home – Chantal Ackerman – 1977

A minimalist autobiography in which Chantal Akerman philosophises on identity and and how to feel at home in a city through letters from her mother and images of New York City. The movie is as much a portrait of a city as an autobiographical portrait of the director. News From Home is moreover a direct source of inspiration for my own work.

2. Cuentos patrióticos – Francis Alys – 1997

A shepherd leads his sheep around the flagpole on Mexico City’s central square. The movie has a hypnotic effect and seems to find the perfect balance between the political and the poetic. I first saw Cuentos Patrióticos during Francis Alys’ retrospective exhibition at WIELS. It was touching to say the least, and made me fell in love with experimental cinema for the first time.

3. a.m./p.m. – Herman Asselberghs – 2004

Asselberg translates his ideas on the complex Israel-Palestine conflict in a visual essay. What’s most interesting in this one, for me, is how he combines the personal with the global. Visually, he seems to be transforming reality into a fantastical universe.

4. Little Figures – Sarah Vanagt – 2003

Three statues on Brussels’ Mont Des Arts / Kunstberg: a king, a queen and a knight. Three kids from Brussels give a voice to the statues; a Filipino boy, a Moroccan boy and a Rwandan girl. I’ve seen the movie a dozen times and it keeps moving me. Funny, interesting, sweet, beautiful, special. One of the most beautiful Belgian movies I’ve ever seen.

5. Printed Matter – Sirah Foighel Brutmann & Eitan Efrat – 2011

A political – yet mostly poetic and personal – movie, in which the mother of the director tells stories with photographs taken by her husband, a professional photographer. Family portraits gather between pictures of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s a movie about memory and materiality. The images are beautiful, it seems as if spectators themselves are visiting Sirah’s mother, and as if she is addressing us personally.

6. Grands travaux – Gerard-Jan Claes & Olivia Rochette – 2016

Grands travaux is set in the Institute Anneessens-Funck, a Dutch-speaking vocational school in the centre of Brussels where young students have come to learn a trade.’ I find the way in which Gerard-Jan and Olivia worked with the boys very special and inspiring. The movie is full of love.