10th Brussels Film Festival

The 10th Brussels Film Festival started just last Friday. From the 8th
to the 16th June, there will be over 50 movies screened in Flagey and
BOZAR, including open air screenings on Place Sainte-Croix. European
expats will also have the opportunity to take part in special evenings
devoted to a chosen European country, when the latest achievements of
the Polish, Spanish, Belgian, and Italian cinema will be presented.
Most of these special screenings have been already booked out by
European Institutions officials and diplomatic guests who Brussels has
plenty, but some seats are still available for those who are simply
interested in seeing something new – so if you planned to go, hurry
up!

Next to the films taking part in the competition, the biggest group is
shown as a part of the Panorama section, which has already become a
standard on all major European festivals. It usually features movies
by not that well established directors but from my experience equally
worth recommending. The chances are that most of these films will
never reach broader market so it might actually be your only
opportunity to see them.

On the other hand, the festival is a perfect opportunity to meet
established directors too. This year’s masterclasses are going to be
led by Peter Greenaway, a British film director who became known for
his unconventional experiments with the film as a genre, and Peter
Aalbaek, regarded as the most important Danish film producer since the
1990s.

The only thing that could spoil my enthusiasm when going through the
program is the language policy of the organizers. Unfortunately,
although the festival is taking place in the Capital of Europe
inhabited by a diverse international community, only a gasp of movies
was made available for non-French speakers. The French-Dutch equality
is kept of course, as required by the law in Belgium. It seems to me,
however, to have been forgotten that the 27 European countries that
Brussels is the capital of speak 23 different languages. So what about
people who might be speaking even 4 to 5 of them but neither French
nor Dutch is among them, which is not that uncommon for expats from
the so called “new member states”?

The fact is that English is the contemporary European linga franca and
the main language of communication of the international expat
community in Brussels and in the world. While there are plenty of
people who do not speak French, you will surely have a greater
difficulty finding someone who does not speak English. Therefore, if
you have an interesting movie to show and you want to show it to an
audience as wide as possible, you should better do it in English.
English subtitling as a standard would make the Brussels Film Festival
accessible to a wider audience including expat community in Brussels,
allowing them to get out from the European bubble, integrate, and
learn more about each other.