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Cinema of Small Nations
Across four Wednesdays in November, Exeter Phoenix will be hosting the Cinema of Small Nations, a series celebrating film in a uniquely European context. Highlighting some of the very best and most exciting films around, join us as we journey through the cinematic landscapes of Belgium, Scotland, Wales, and Romania.
With introduction by Dr. Jamie Steele, Bath Spa University/ University of Bristol. Short film premieres will also be screened prior to the feature length film.
Dir. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Belgium, 95 mins, 2015, subtitled.
This debut feature film by second-generation Moroccan-Belgian filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah looks at two rival gangs in the gritty Brussels suburb, Molenbeek. Black engages with dispersed communities that are often overlooked in French-language Belgian cinema, which has been dominated by filmmakers from the south of the country (such as the Dardennes). As a result, Black captures a unique picture of Belgium and its bilingual capital city.
A Romeo-and-Juliet style tragedy, the narrative is based on Flemish author Dirk Bracke’s two novels Back/Black. 15-year old Congolese girl Mavela (a member of the Black Bronx) falls in love with Marwan (a teenager of Moroccan heritage) of the rival gang 1080 – Molenbeek’s postcode. A clash between the rival gangs ensues with the two lovers given the ultimate dilemma – to choose either love or loyalty.
Steve Rose’s The Guardian film review labeled Black the ‘new La Haine’, teasing out comparisons with Kassowitz’s 1995 breakthrough masterpiece of youthful vibrancy and hip-hop music set on the margins of a French-speaking capital city. Black has received awards at Toronto International Film Festival and Film Fest Gent as well as screening at festivals designed to celebrate ‘interculturality’.
Showcasing a typically unseen Belgium, Black has kick started the career of two exciting and promising filmmakers whose next destination is Hollywood.
‘With its punchy, take-no-prisoners style, the film follows Bracke’s lead in peering straight into this urban heart of darkness’
- Wed 2 Nov, 7.30pm