CINEMATEK in Brussels – Enter The Sacred Film Shrine

Photography by Wouter Spitters

Photography by Wouter Spitters

Prior to traveling to Brussels, Belgium this past November, I put some serious research time into identifying the key sights and activities I wanted to see and do while visiting. Apart from the essentials like a walk through “The Grand Place” and a visit to the Magritte Museum, there are plenty of offbeat detours like the incredibly cluttered but charming Musee de Jouet (a vast collection of toys from the past) and the Musee des Instruments de Musique, housed in a former 1899 department store in the art nouveau style. If you are a fan of Belgium beers, you will be in heaven here (visit A La Morte Subite and Delirium Tremens Cafe for starters) and your choices of various cuisines will be endless though you may be tempted to try the local specialty – mussels & frites – at least once unless you have an aversion to shellfish and french fries. And if you a film lover, particularly one interested in repertory programming, you will be amazed at what you find for Brussels has a thriving movie culture with even more “classic cinema” viewing options than nearby Amsterdam (less than 3 hours by train), another mecca for cinephiles which we visited a few days before.     Continue reading

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Rififi in Tokyo

Rififi in Tokyo poster

Rififi in Tokyo poster

RIFIFI, Jules Dassin’s quintessential 1955 noir/heist thriller, had quite an impact on the European crime movie genre in its day though most of its imitators or similarly inspired creations rarely found distribution in the U.S. except as English-dubbed second features in limited runs in a few major cities like New York. And I have yet to read of any major film critics or movie buffs like Quentin Tarantino championing any of the Rififi knockoffs. But for anyone with a soft spot for heist films, you might enjoy sampling some of these lesser efforts, particularly RIFIFI IN TOKYO (1963).      Continue reading

EYE – Film Archive of the Future

eye_film_institute_amsterdam
On a recent November trip to Amsterdam with my wife, we had no set agenda other than pure pleasure – to soak in the culture, see the city sights and various art museums, tour the canals and neighborhoods, sample the great beers, and occasionally retreat from the constant onslaught of bicycles into some cosy cafe or coffeeshop. (A word of warning to first time visitors to Amsterdam: bicyclists have the right of way over pedestrians and their own designated lanes everywhere. If you don’t look carefully both ways before stepping across a bike lane, you could get creamed by someone going 30 miles an hour or more. The trams (streetcars) can be just as deadly if you aren’t paying close attention to the street traffic.)      Continue reading