THIERRY ZENO | Offscreen
Belgium's most subversive filmmaker, Thierry Zéno, passed away on June 7, 2017, due to a lingering illness. This multidisciplinary artist is foremost the director of the unsettling, controversial feature film “Vase de noces” (1974). In 1976, a new documentary causes shockwaves: the often unbearably distressing “Des morts”, which deals with burial rites around the world, and is not suitable for sensitive viewers. He will return to this ethnological approach with documentaries such as “Chronique d’un village tzotzil” (1992) and “Ya basta ! Le cri des sans-visage” (1997), while his fascination with Félicien Rops and other artists is reflected in his works “Les muses sataniques” (1983), “Ce tant bizarre Monsieur Rops” (2000) and “Eugène Ionesco, voix et silences” (1987).
A documentary about the daily life of a native Tzotzil community in southern Mexico, shot over a period of eight years. With patience, the filmmaker manages to describe their attachment to traditions and difficulties in adapting to a constantly evolving world.
In parallel with the retrospective, a one-day Thierry Zéno seminar at Bozar Studio, initiated by Muriel Andrin and Jeremi Szaniawski (ULB) and Xavier Garcia (Bozar), will bring together theorists and practitioners for a rediscovery of his little-known oeuvre. Info and registration (required): firstname.lastname@example.org. Free entry.
In “Contes pour enfants de moins de trois ans”, five of Eugène Ionesco's fairytales are set against a backdrop of children's drawings. In the documentary “Eugène Ionesco, voix et silences”, Zéno delineates both the writer's life and his work in a series of interviews.
“Les muses sataniques” combines a reading of letters by Félicien Rops with contemplation of his satirical, erotic and visionary imagery. In “Ce tant bizarre monsieur Rops”, a strange guide leads us through the artist's ruined farmhouse as we listen to extracts from Camille Lemonnier's monograph.
Zéno's debut, “Bouche sans fond ouverte sur les horizons”, is a portrait of schizophrenic artist Georges Moinet; “Les tribulations de St-Antoine” evokes the life of the hermit featured in many famous paintings; and “Artifices d'acier” is an award-winning short about a sculpture by Olivier Strebelle.
In “Ya basta!” the native Tzotzil tribe takes up arms to demand land, work, housing, education, health, independence, freedom and democracy from the Mexican government. “40 Molons” is a video-installation inspired by the folkloric 40 Molons Orchestra of Namur.