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Five films you should have seen at the Courtisane festival in Ghent

A visual history lesson on the Danube to a portrait of an Armenian boxer: the Ghent film festival Courtisane has been a varied program. Five movies you should not miss.

‘Inside the Distance’ by Elias Grootaers, valve of Courtisane. © Elias Grootaers

The Human Surge – Eduardo Williams (2016)

The young Argentine Eduardo Williams gets the honor for the festival to open with a surprising langspeeldebuut about at first sight a banal theme: work. He shows a couple of young men who, bored by their job, their satisfaction elsewhere, must go to search. Despite the intimate, almost magical atmosphere, as the political and philosophical issues are broached, such as the paradox of our individualistic isolation in a digitized world.

Tonsler Park – Kevin Jerome Everson (2017)

November 8 is now in the collective memory as the day that an angry man with a lush hairstyle president of America was. Everson records discreetly how the Afro-American employees of the polling station at Tonsler Park in Charlottesville this historic day. They lay down the oath, parts of ballots, and burst into noisy chatter. No one who is aware appears to be the camera. The location is not chosen randomly: the Tonsler Park is named for Benjamin Tonsler, a local African-American school principal who, during the segregation is against the rules in lesson remained. A burning current view of democracy.

That Donau rauf – Peter Nestler & Zsóka Nestler (1969)

The festival will this year focus on Peter Nestler, ever the most important post-war filmmaker from Germany called. Without preconceptions, he listens to voices that all too often are ignored. So, he rolls a critical look at themes such as economy, immigratiepolitiek and fascism. For the Danube rauf – one of the sleutelfilms from a repertoire of more than sixty films – he smote his hands together with his wife. The result is a kind of cultural, social and political history lesson about the river, bathed in beautiful summer colors and meedeinend to the rhythm of the rippling water.

Uppför Donau of Peter Nestler © Peter Nestler

To Be Here Ute Aurand (2013)

Also Ute Aurand is in the spotlight. The Berlin has, since the eighties, one of the leading figures of the experimental filmscene. For her 16mm-portraits films, she regularly persons over the years. So, she gives a playful and poetic look into the mundane existence, as a cinematic diary. Courtisane shows especially her more recent work, such as To Be Here, an ambitious interpretation of Katharine Lee Bates’ nineteenth-century poem “America The Beautiful”.

Susan, Ute Aurand © Ute Aurand

Inside the Distance – Elias Grootaers (2017)

Quit doing the festival Inside the Distance, an intimate portrait of the Belgian-Armenian boxing coach Giorgi Shakhsuvarian. Who has devoted his life to the flirting with ‘the distance’, the fixed length of a camp in which the boxer must estimate where and how he blows need to dodge and distribute. In Belgium, he teaches a young boxer the tricks of the trade. More than a boksfilm, this is a visualisation of displacement. ‘Will my heart be big enough to cover the distance?’ asks Giorgi himself while he was on a world map to his homeland looks.

Courtisane will take place from 29 march to 2 april at different locations in Ghent. All info and timings: courtisane.be.

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