De Gerlache: Magritte, le jour et la nuit

A museum for René Magritte has opened in Brussels and as the cultural channel of Europe, arte celebrates this important event. But how to make a film about an artist, whose oeuvre was huge, an artist who behaved like a good bourgeois without any scandals attached and without any wish to come up with any easy interpretations. And yet such an influential artist for current filmmakers and designers and other visual artists who claimed or claim to be in line with the surrealist thinking. How?

The director’s answer to these questions was to introduce an actor as the one, who walks around where Magritte was, in his footsteps, watching and talking to people who knew him or his wife Georgette. For biographical documentation and artistic interpretation. It is sometimes made in an elegant way, and sometimes the image manipulations are clumsy. Basically you do not get anything new to know about Magritte, or a better understanding and feeling. It is all very staged with the actor and his trying to make the painter alive, and it helps when small home film material clips with Magritte are shown. All of a sudden you are touched by a playfullness without pretentions in sequences that are for me killed by a wall-to-wall narration in first person delivered by the actor who is said to discover Magritte… I think it could have been done much more fresh and direct.
Belgium/France, 2009, 52 mins.

Watched on arte, June 4 2009. Repeats on 7/6, 17/6 and 22/6,date=4/6/2009.html

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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