Film programme by Artcinema OFFoff
Price: € 8
Ciné-concert Ameel Brecht + Brecht Hayen
Nus masculins and Last Spring by the French filmmaker François Reichenbach (1921-1993) have been high on OFFoff’s wish list for quite some time. Accompanied by Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’amour, they can now finally present these films in a unique cine-concert with new live soundtracks by Ameel Brecht and Brecht Hayen.
Nus masculins and Last Spring were long lost and forgotten films. A fragile and deteriorated 16mm reversal print has only recently been recovered and restored.
Composer and experimental musician Ameel Brecht will accompany the intimate and silent travel diary and portrait film Nus masculins. As a soloist, Ameel lives out his passion for esoteric moods and resonances on stringed instruments such as mandolin, guitar and violone, resulting in what he himself calls metaphysical string music. He just released his third solo album, The Locked Room (blickwinkel). As a composer, Ameel Brecht has created music for various dance companies and films. He’s also the founder of Razen, a project he started during his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with the intention of uncovering the crossings between Early music, spectral compositions and psychedelic improvisations.
Un Chant d’amour, the sole film by French writer Jean Genet, was an important inspiration for François Reichenbach who was organizing clandestine screenings of this banned film among friends in Paris a year or two before making Nus masculins and Last Spring. Guitarist Brecht Hayen brings a new soundtrack to Genet’s yearning ‘song of love’. Brecht Hayen makes music in a room. That room usually doesn’t even belong to him, but to a friend. Hopefully one day he will have a room of his own.
François Reichenbach - 'Nus masculins' (FR • 1954 • 25' • kleur • stil • digitaal) Live soundtrack: Ameel Brecht
Jean Genet: 'Un Chant d'amour'
Jean Genet, enfant terrible of French literature, spent part of his life in captivity. In this voyeuristic visual poem, prisoners, locked in their cells, are also trapped in their homoerotic fantasies.
“There is a close relationship between flowers and convicts. The fragility and delicacy of the former are of the same nature as the brutal insensitivity of the latter. My excitement is the oscillation from one to the other.” – Jean Genet, The Thief’s Journal (1949)
François Reichenbach: 'Last Spring'
“Last Spring is an ‘amateur film’ in the noble sense of the word, a notion that François Reichenbach has embraced throughout his work, as one would make or show a film only among a few close friends. Traveler, musicologist, collector and enthusiast, Reichenbach was everywhere and interested in everything. His life was constantly driven by the desire to film bodies, wild landscapes and cities, to record sounds and voices. In Last Spring, he imagines an intimate fiction with some friends he met in the United States, an opportunity to film, without complex or restraint, two men in love, entwined, then separated, one in the city and the other in the countryside. Influenced by Jean Cocteau, but also by the modern cinema that was emerging in France and the United States, he tells a simple and romantic love story, with its carnal desire, its moments of solitude, its reveries, its lacks and its doubts. Shot handheld and without dialogue, the natural black and white image and the James Dean look of the two characters plunge the viewer into a semi-documentary world of this fascinating and rebellious America of the 1950s” (Cinémathèque française).
Guided by the romantic motif of the Baroque composer Tomaso Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor, Last Spring will be screened with its original soundtrack.
François Reichenbach: 'Nus masculins'
Nus masculins is a travel diary in the form of a series of intimate, silent and unedited portraits. “As if in search for the flower not to be found in a secret garden, between classical painting and pompous art à la Pierre et Gilles before its time, Reichenbach films his fellow travelers and loved ones, his Ganymedes in Ektachrome, in all simplicity. Nus masculins is a loving and tender home movie in a natural environment, both very arranged and candid. Gay without apologizing for being so. Suggestive, modest and carefree games of routes and looks compose an eroticism that would make Jean Cocteau and Kenneth Anger blush. Was this diary intended to be read?” (Cinémathèque française)
“Such intense shots on Kodak Ektachrome film are quite rare even in archives.” – film historian and curator Alexander Horwath