AVANT-GARDE 1927-1937: SURREALISM AND EXPERIMENT IN BELGIAN CINEMA

The debut films of Charles Dekeukeleire and Henri Storck, who would later become famous as documentary filmmakers, consisted of experiments, at the end of the 1920s, in search of a ‘pure cinema’. Collected together: Dekeukeleire’s COMBAT DE BOXE (1927), IMPATIENCE (1928), HISTOIRE DE DÉTECTIVE (1929), and VISIONS DE LOURDES (1932); Storck’s IMAGES D’OSTEND (1929), POUR VOS BEAUX YEUX (1929), HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT INCONNU (1932), and SUR LES BORDS DE LA CAMÉRA; along with films by the occasional surrealists Henri d'Ursel, LA PERLE (1929), and Ernst Moerman, MONSIEUR FANTÔMAS (1937); the works constitute the first generation in Belgian avant-garde cinema.

 
IMAGES D’OSTENDE (1929)—Henri Storck

IMAGES D’OSTENDE (1929)—Henri Storck

 
HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT INCONNU (1932)—Henri Storck

HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT INCONNU (1932)—Henri Storck

"The Belgian avant-garde cinema of this era is not a little backwater that merits a quick look only by specialists. Storck’s and particularly Dekeukeleire’s works are as sophisticated and challenging as almost anything that was going on in experimental filmmaking of the era..."

—Kristin Thompson, www.davidbordwell.net/blog

Seven contemporary composers wrote the music for these unique films: Joachim Brackx, Eric Sleichim, Jan Van Outryve, Annelies Van Parys (in residence at Transparant) and Mireille Capelle, Geert Callaert and Thomas Smetryns (in residence at HERMESensemble).  The works for ensemble are performed by the HERMESensemble, conducted by Koen Kessels.  In the essay that accompanies the two DVDs, Xavier Canonne reconstructs this thrilling period (1927-1937) of avant-garde activity in Belgian cinema.

 
HISTOIRE DE DÉTECTIVE (1929)—Charles Dekeukeleire

HISTOIRE DE DÉTECTIVE (1929)—Charles Dekeukeleire

IMPATIENCE (1928)—Charles Dekeukeleire

IMPATIENCE (1928)—Charles Dekeukeleire

This deluxe 2-DVD set is published by Cinematek, previously the Royal Film Archive of Belgium — Cinémathèque Royal de Belgique. The DVDs are housed inside of a 104-page, trilingual book with notes on the films, filmmakers, and composers along with contextualizing essays by Erik Martens and Xavier Canonne.

 
LA PERLE (1929)—Henri d'Ursel

LA PERLE (1929)—Henri d'Ursel

MONSIEUR FANTÔMAS (1937)—Ernst Moerman

MONSIEUR FANTÔMAS (1937)—Ernst Moerman

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)

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BOXING MATCH (COMBAT DE BOXE)
(Belgium, 1927)

Director: Charles Dekeukeleire
Musical Score: Eric Sleichim

• 7:30 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

IMPATIENCE (IMPATIENCE)
(Belgium, 1928)

Director: Charles Dekeukeleire
Musical Score: Thomas Smetryns

• 36:20 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

DETECTIVE STORY (HISTOIRE DE DÉTECTIVE)   
(Belgium, 1929)

Director: Charles Dekeukeleire
Musical Score: Gaert Callaert

• 50:52 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

THE PEARL (LA PERLE)
(Belgium, 1929)

Director: Henri d’Ursel
Musical Score: Mireille Capelle

• 33:23 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

SCENES OF OSTEND (IMAGES D’OSTENDE)
(Belgium, 1929)

Director: Henri Storck
Musical Score: Joachim Brackx

• 10:55 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL EYES (POUR VOS BEAUX YEUX)
(Belgium, 1929)

Director: Henri Storck
Musical Score: Joachim Brackx

• 6:31 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

STORY OF AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER (HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT INCONNU)
(Belgium, 1932)

Director: Henri Storck
Musical Score: Annelies Van Parys

• 10:36 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

PICTURES ON THE SIDELINE (SUR LES BORDS DE LA CAMÉRA)
(Belgium, 1932)

Director: Henri Storck
Musical Score: Jan Van Outryve

• 10:47 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

 

VISIONS OF LOURDES (VISIONS DE LOURDES)
(Belgium, 1932)

Director: Charles Dekeukeleire
Musical Score: Annelies Van Parys

• 17:54
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

FANTÔMAS (MONSIEUR FANTÔMAS) 
(Belgium, 1937)

Director: Ernst Moerman
Musical Score: Gaert Callaert

• 17:16 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W
• Silent

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Total Running Time: 03:22:06 (2 Discs)

Language: French. English & Dutch subtitles

Booklet Text: Erik Martens & Xavier Canonne (English, French & Dutch)

Published By: Cinematek

Institutional Price: $300 (plus shipping).

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.