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Boris Lehman: Babel

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Boris Lehman: Babel


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/ Letter to my Friends who Stayed in Belgium narrates the day-to-day existence of a filmmaker wandering through his city (Brussels) and who has a notion to follow in the footsteps of dramatist Antonin Artaud and visit the Tarahumara people of Mexico.
This is a film about intimacy and friedship. Written in the first person, it places Boris and Brussels in the center of the universe, here represented by the crazy, vertiginous, endless spiral of the biblical Tower. It is Boris's diary and self-portrait. He plays himself on screen (as do the cast of a hundred who also allowed themselves to be "Babelized")

THE BOOK reproduces the narration and some of the dialogues, five new texts ( Juliette Archard, Mario Brena, Serge Daney, Messaline Raverdy, Boris van der Avoort ) and many color illustrations (documents, film frames, drawings, manuscripts).
THE POSTER follows along, in time and space, the filmmakers's itinerary through the film.
THE BOX contains the entire film on three DVDs, the 160-page book, and the poster.

Born in 1944 in a Jewish family, Boris Lehman creates images of his own obsessions, sometimes related to his Jewish origins. As co-scenarist, assistant or actor he has collaborated with several filmmakers in Belgium, including Chantal Akerman, Samy Szlingerbaum and Henri Storck. Retrospectives of his own work have been presented in a number of countries. However, his films are not readily separable from his life in Belgium and, of course, from the artistic and popular life of Brussels.

Not only does Boris Lehman produce and direct all his films, but he prefers to screen them himself, sometimes in the living room of his audience. He is the professional of the “home made”. He makes films about things close to him. But his approach, while poetical, absurd and ironic, is also close to the ethnological. His sometimes very intimate personal sequences can also turn towards broader issues about Western Europe and attempts to understand the Other and the meaning of life.

Boris Lehman’s films show the influence of his art philosophical commitments. His attitude to time does not betray any stress: the film Babel: Letter to my friends who stayed in Belgium is six hours long (part I of a tetralogy in progress). One can say that he has turned his life into a film, as the films have become his life. This explains why his filmography amounts to hundreds of works, some of them films edited for a single screening only. He is close to Jonas Mekas’ way of considering cinema, preferring to see the cineast as an artist based in daily life. Boris Lehman is an ‘unclassifiable’ filmmaker in the landscape of Belgian independant cinematography. So let us enter his very personal and questioning universe, through the two movies proposed in this programme. Boris Lehman will be amongst us to present them…

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