This musical play of four acts opens at the one-year anniversary of a terrible tragedy that killed 24 people of a sleepy Belgian village. Told through acting, dance and song and based on a stunning original score by composers Hans Petter Dahl, Maarten Seghers and Rombout Willems, we follow 11 hapless villagers over the course of four seasons as they confront their ongoing grief while dealing with a string of further horrors that Lauwers throws across their paths.
The 47-year-old writer and actor, once described by the magazine Humo as “servant of the natural, driven towards truth”, is more in demand than ever before. Last spring, his role as a stubborn, smalltown butcher in Allez Eddy! won plaudits, and this summer he shot the new comedy Frits en Franky – a follow-up to the hugely popular 2010 movie Frits en Freddy. He also co-starred in the Belgian film La cinquième saison (The Fifth Season), much-applauded at the Venice Film Festival last month.
The moderator for the English section is author Lila Azam Zanganeh, who cut her teeth last season running the French-language section. Azam Zanganeh is French-Iranian, lives in New York and has taught both literature and film at Harvard. Her first choice for the Book Club is the selected poems of Adonis, who, she says, “single-handedly launched a revolution in modern Middle Eastern poetry”. Adonis will be discussed on 27 November, so you have plenty of time to get the book (available, quite conveniently, at the Bozar shop) and be prepared.
“I quit my job at Het Laatste Nieuws three years ago,” the author says, “and just started making stuff up. I wanted to challenge myself, so I created alluring opening lines, lines that gave me carte blanche to make the wackiest story possible.”
Elise and Didier are not much alike. She’s a vegetarian tattoo artist with a spiritual bent; he’s an atheist cowboy living in a caravan. But when Elise sees Didier’s sweating brow fronting a bluegrass band, and he gets a tour of the tattoos covering her body, it’s love.
Following damage caused in the Napoleonic period, Peyrat employed artists and designers from across Europe to convert the castle into an idealised version of a medieval palace – a sort of theatre of history. Marie donated the castle to the Belgian state in 1921, and in 1980 it became a museum of the Flemish Community.
Arno is not only the most highly praised Flemish rock singer, he’s also easily surpassing the language barrier. In his very unique style, combining English with French (and on very rare occasions his Ostend patois), he’s as popular in Flanders as in the French Community. No one sings like Arno, no one thinks like Arno and, certainly, no one speaks like Arno.
Cherkaoui was born in Antwerp, the son of a Flemish mother and a Moroccan father. He says his first influence was watching a friend copy the movements of Kate Bush in her iconic Wuthering Heights video – he also cites her song “Running Up That Hill” as the music he would choose for the soundtrack of his life.
They say all good things must come to an end and sadly, cult ure lovers, this is true of Visual Arts Flanders, the no-frills umbrella title for five rather thrilling art exhibitions showing across the region. It all began in March with the coastal parcours Beaufort 04 (ends 30 September) and continued with Ghent’s city-wide arts event Track (ends 16 September), the reopening of the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp (ongoing) and the first-ever Belgian edition of Manifesta in Genk (ends 30 September).
In Little Black Spiders, which opens the Ostend Film Festival this Friday night, 16-year-old Katja (a wonderful Line Pillet) is driven to a castle-like estate in the middle of the Flemish countryside. She climbs a very long fire escape to reach the attic, where a number of other girls are living.