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Francophone Belgian Cinema

Jamie Steele

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Considers transnational, national and regional concepts within contemporary francophone Belgian cinema

Francophone Belgian Cinema offers an original critical analysis of filmmaking in an oft-neglected ‘national’ and regional cinema. The book draws key distinctions between the local, national, small national, regional and transnational frameworks in both representational and industrial terms. Alongside the Dardenne brothers, this book considers four promising Francophone Belgian filmmakers who have received limited critical attention in academic publications on contemporary European cinema: Joachim Lafosse, Olivier Masset-Depasse, Lucas Belvaux and Bouli Lanners. Exploring these filmmakers’ themes of post-industrialism, paternalism, the fractured nuclear family and spatial dynamics, as well as their work in the more commercial road movie and polar genres, Jamie Steele analyses their stylistic continuities and filiation. This is complemented by an analysis of how the industrial aspects of film production, distribution and exhibition contribute to the creation of both a regional and transnational cinema.

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Introduction: Exploring Nationalisms in Belgium, Brussels and Wallonia

Chapter 1: The (francophone) Belgian film ecosystem: trends in production, distribution and exhibition

Chapter 2: ‘No Future’: social marginalisation, social precariousness and depictions of Seraing in Le gamin au vélo (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2011) and Deux jours, Une nuit (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2014)

Chapter 3: ‘Stills’ and fragmented families: contemplating the private sphere in Joachim Lafosse’s Wallonia

Chapter 4: From slag heaps to cliffs: the ‘marked’ regional landscape in Cages (Olivier Masset-Depasse, 2006)

Chapter 5: The francophone Belgian road movie: Eldorado (Bouli Lanners, 2008) and Ultranova (Bouli Lanners, 2005)

Chapter 6: Lucas Belvaux’s return: the thriller genre and heists in Liège


Works Cited


About the Author

Jamie Steele is Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at Bath Spa University, having previously taught at both the University of Exeter and University of Bristol. He has published journal articles and book chapters for edited collections on regional, national and transnational cinema in a francophone Belgian context.


Francophone Belgian Cinema offers a compelling study of the intersections and overlapping of the regional, the global, and the transnational through the optic of the contemporary French-language Belgian film industry. Steele skillfully combines an impressively researched industrial study with attentive close readings of selected works by the best-known francophone Belgian directors, from the Dardenne brothers to Bouli Lanners. The book fills a major gap in scholarship on francophone Belgian cinema and insightfully contributes to a growing body of work on regional and transnational French-language cinematic productions.

- Professor Michael Gott, University of Cincinnati

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