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SARAH VANAGT gives a talk at the Dutch Doc Days (Kran Film Collective)

Kran Film Collective

SARAH VANAGT gives a talk at the Dutch Doc Days

Talk by Sarah Vanagt about her film Boulevard d’Ypres during Dutch Doc Days
Utrecht, 11 June, 3 pm

Boulevard d’Ypres
Documentary, 65 min., 2010
colour, French, English, Dutch spoken

PALMThe Boulevard d’Ypres in Brussels, with its large and colourful Mediterranean stores, offers glimpses of the Tales of One Thousand and One Nights. Urban development is now driving out these shops selling couscous, dates and olives. It is this turning point in the history of her own street that Vanagt uses as a starting point for a “microhistorical experiment”. Vanagt turned one the already empty stores into a film studio, and invited her neighbours – a mix of new inhabitants, undocumented immigrants, asylum-seekers, and shopkeepers – to come and tell a story, a fairy tale.

Her approach is inspired by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg, one of the initiators of “microhistory”. This branch of history attempts to uncover power relations in society by focusing on details, and on the mental universes created by the men and women in the street. In Boulevard d’Ypres, the histories are ‘fictionalised’ by use of the third-person voice: ‘he’ replaces ‘I’. Thus, a mythical dimension is added, as if these tales are becoming part of an oral storytelling tradition. Before the street changes into something new, before the empty store turns into a restaurant, a fitness centre, or an art gallery, the old store-house temporarily functions as a place of memory. The shop, the street, and the storytellers all find themselves at a point zero of history.

Produced by Balthasar vzw in co-production with  Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Argos, Centre Vidéo de Bruxelles (CVB)
Supported by : Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds (VAF) & Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC)