This month, CINEMATEK (the Belgian Royal Film Archive) pays tribute to Charles Dekeukeleire (1905-1971), one of Belgium’s most important filmmakers. Especially his avant-gardist films from the late 1920s, such as Impatience (1928) and Histoire de détective (1929), are (justly!) considered as masterpieces of experimental cinema. See, for example, Kristin Thompson’s excellent analysis of these films. But while Thompson is less enthusiastic about Dekeukeleire’s later work, I find films such as Witte vlam (1930), Visions de Lourdes (1932), Thèmes d’inspiration (1938) and the underrated Het kwade oog (1937 – on which I have been working, see here) equally interesting.
Next to a film programme focusing on Dekeukeleire’s work and its film historical links, CINEMATEK hosts an attractive exhibition curated by Mathilde Lejeune (Université Lille 3), who also gave a lecture on her ongoing research on Dekeukeleire’s life and work. For the exhibition, she made an insightful selection out of CINEMATEK’s rich archival holdings on Dekeukeleire: film stills, scripts, publicity material, reviews, certificates, letters, and, above all, Dekeukeleire’s intriguing little notebooks. Definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of Belgian cinema, experimental and documentary cinema! The exhibition is on display until 28 April.