Belgian Cinema & Identity
Lecturer and course supervisor: Leen Engelen
Taking specific fiction and documentary films as its starting point, this course explores and questions the concept of ‘Belgian cinema’ and the image of Belgium (as an imagined community) as presented in film. The aim is not to offer an exhaustive overview of the history of Belgian cinema, but to look at how Belgian film makers have dealt with specific themes considered central to Belgian identity and history (e.g. colonialism, artistic tradition).
The course consists of in-class lessons and screenings offering an exploration of the connections between Belgian history, culture and identity, and the Belgian documentary film tradition. A two-day film seminar will be held on location focusing on contemporary Belgian documentary practices. Each screening during the semester will be followed by a Q&A session and discussion with film professionals involved in the production. Case studies include Flemish as well as Walloon films, and regional as well as national and international co-productions.
This approach will help students to gain an insight in to historical and recent developments in Belgian cinema and to become acquainted with a generation of young Belgian documentary filmmakers. The course should therefore provide a set of starting clues for students to follow and investigate deeper, both to develop their written assignment for this course and to ground possible topics for the graduation projects they will carry out locally in the final semester.