Belgian film named 'greatest ever' to return to Brussels cinemas

Belgian film named 'greatest ever' to return to Brussels cinemas
Credit: BFI

A Belgian film originally released in 1975 will once again be shown in cinemas in Brussels and Flanders after being named the best film of all time, a title it will now bear for ten years.

Last week, the British Film Institute (BFI) in its magazine Sight and Sound published the highly anticipated results of its international poll of film critics – conducted once each decade. This revealed that a film by Belgian director Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) was top of the list – the first woman to do so in the poll's 70-year history.

Ten years ago, Akerman's second film “Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” ranked in 36th place but this year was named the best ever made. To celebrate the occasion, the film (over three hours long) will once again be screened at various Belgian cinemas.

Where to see it

In Brussels, a rotation was worked out among different independent cinemas. The first screening is scheduled for 17 December at Cinema Galeries in the centre of Brussels, followed by special screenings at Bozar's Cinematek (that restored and digitised the film), Cinema Palace and finally at Cineflagey.

In Flanders, it will be shown in cinemas Sphinx (Ghent) on 20 December, Buda (Kortrijk) and Cinema Lumière's theatres in Antwerp, Bruges and Mechelen.

The film follows the meticulous daily routine of a middle-aged and widowed housewife and sometimes prostitute (played by Delphine Seyrig) over the course of three days in her flat in Brussels, where she lives with her son. It has since provoked analysis and debate by fanatics across the world and remains one of the greatest and most influential cinematic experiments.

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In addition, the Chantal Akerman Foundation and Cinematek are organising activities to discover the award-winning Belgian filmmaker's broader work, which often explored feminist themes.

The film 'Hôtel Monterey' will be screened at Cinematek on 5 and 9 January 2023. At Bozar, the never-before-seen installation 'Self Portrait/ Autobiography' can be viewed until 15 January 2023, the run-up to a major retrospective on Akerman in 2024.

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