The theme of death is heavily interwoven in Smolder’s surreal salute to Belgian painter Antoine Wiertz, Pensees et visions d’une tete coupee / Thoughts and Visions of a Severed Head, a Hieronymus Bosch-type artist whose work centered on humans in various stages in torment, as depicted in expansive canvases with gore galore. Smolders has basically taken a standard documentary and chopped it up, using quotes from the long-dead artist, and periodic statements by a historian (Smolders) filling in a few bits of Wiertz’ life. —kqek.com
Born in 1956 in Léopoldville (former Belgian Congo), Olivier Smolders completed his studies in Belgium. A graduate in Roman Philology (UCL) and lecturer at the University of Liège, he also teaches at INSAS (the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle), the Brussels film school. He has written and produced his own short films via his own production company, Les Films du Scarabée.
He is currently one of the most innovative figures in cinematic – particularly Belgian, but also experimental – circles. The author of various books on literature and the cinema, he has also written numerous articles that have been published in different journals and magazines. His work as filmmaker, sustained by his background in literature, confronts text with image in a way that that challenges our perceptions. Cultivating all kinds of discrepancy, his films, dosed with derision, have about them a whiff of the “fantasy film”, in which domain Nuit Noire, his first full-length feature, would… read more