De Imagerie’s Anne Reijniers selects 5 Belgian movies

Upcoming film-maker and curator Anne Reijniers (1992) is no stranger to all things left-field in the Belgian cinema scene: besides directing the documentary Échangeur with University of Antwerp’s researcher Rob Jacobs, the young Antwerpian is part of Het Bos-based film collective De Imagerie. And as if that weren’t enough, she’s one half of the curatorial mastermind behind the collective’s biannual film festival Visite, alongside fellow film-maker Eva Van Tongeren. Anne’s selection of her five Favourite Belgian Movies – coincidentally female-strong – is a great teaser for Visite’s next stint planned for August; and shaking things up, she’s decided to provide choice words from press praise or the film-makers themselves.

1. Because We Are Visual – 2010 – Olivia Rochette & Gerard-Jan Claes

“In ‘Because We Are Visual’ Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes immerse themselves into the world of public video journals. The Internet and its online communities intend to bring people closer together and to connect them. Yet, surprisingly, it seems that the virtual world confronts these so-called vloggers more than ever with their own loneliness. This documentary allows the viewer to discover this contemporary phenomenon and focuses on the experience of the body within this virtual space.”

2. Sylvia Kristel – Paris – 2003 – Manon de Boer

“Between November 2000 and June 2002 Manon de Boer recorded the stories and memories of Kristel. At each recording session she asked her to speak about a city where Kristel has lived: Paris, Los Angeles, Brussels or Amsterdam; over the two years she spoke on several occasions about the same city. At first glance the collection of stories appears to make up a sort of biography, but over time it shows the impossibility of biography: the impossibility of ‘plotting’ somebody’s life as a coherent narrative.”

3. Home – 2016 – Fien Troch

I felt like I wanted to close a chapter in my life, and find a new energy, be less rigid with the form. I also knew that this time there would be more emotion, dialogue, and even action. In practice, I had to abandon American-style shots, and use a more flexible type of framing, which would give the actors and I more freedom. […] In fact, we used a 4:3 screen format to give the film a documentary feel and sense of realism. It’s also a format that gives you images not unlike those filmed on a smartphone, which brings the characters’ bodies and faces closer together. We filmed without make-up, without lighting. We gave the four young actors smartphones, with instructions to film between takes. I knew full well that as a 38-year-old woman, I was bound to be somewhat disconnected from the world of adolescence, and I wanted the film to speak their language, for it to be their film too.” Fien Troch

4. No Home Movie – 2015 – Chantal Ackerman

I had the feeling for a long time — my mother went into the camps and never said a word about it — that I had to talk for her, which is crazy because you cannot talk for someone else. So I was obsessed by that, by her life. I was obsessed also by the way when she went out of the camps she made her house into a jail. That’s Jeanne Dielman. Now I can tell that, but I was not aware of that when I did it, you know? So I thought that I was the one that had to make, because she would not say anything, that I was the one who was going to testimony instead of her.” Chantal Ackerman

5. Malapascua – 2017 – Christina Stuhlberger

“Malapascua is the name of the island in the Philippines where the mother of filmmaker Christina Stuhlberger was born. […] For six weeks, Christina visited the island, which is smaller in size than the centre of Brussels. It is surrounded by white beaches and pale blue seas, and there are no streets or automobiles. Every day, she walked and explored, as a tourist and as a daughter. Each day she filmed situations, houses and people: a quiet attempt to make a connection with life on Malapascua.”