– 17 September 1999) was a Belgian
author, film-maker and documentarist.
In 1933, he directed, with Joris Ivens
, Misère au Borinage
, a film about the miners
in the Borinage
area. In 1938, with Andre Thirifays and Pierre Vermeylen
, he founded the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique
(Royal Belgian Film Archive). He was an actor in two key films of the history of the cinema: Jean Vigo
's Zéro de conduite
(1933) in the role of the priest, and Chantal Akerman
's Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quay Commercial, 1080 Brussels
(1976) in the role of a customer of the prostitute.
Jacqueline Aubenas wrote about him, in her expository work, It's been going on for 100 years: a history of the francophone cinema of Belgium
: "There emerges forcefully the personality of a cineaste who is not a militant in the sense that this term had in the 1930s for Soviet directors who held an ideology, but in the sense of a generous man who will never choose the wrong side and who will be, in ethics as well as in esthetics, in the first line of battle".
Awards and achievements
- Doctor honoris causa of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (1978) and the Université libre de Bruxelles (1995)
- cofounder with André Thirifays and Pierre Vermeylen, of the Cinémathèque de Belgique (1938)
- honorary president of the Association belge des auteurs de films et de télévision (1992)
- founder member of the Association internationale des documentalistes (AID, 1963)
- lecturer at the......