Cinema Jolly > 10:00


Annik Leroy


Tuesday 27/07/2021


Original version with subtitles



Film Notes

Annik Leroy films as if she were seeing for the first time. Following in the footsteps of Claudio Magris’ Danubio, the Belgian filmmaker traces Europe’s main artery from its source to the Black Sea. She meets people, nature, and an idea of belonging together. It’s truly as if Europe became a body: shaken by history and inequality, enlightened through its people, connected through stories long forgotten. There is a heart, a head, arms and legs, but as we well know, they are disconnected.

It is distressing to see the naive but necessary hope in this film shot at the end of the 1990s: a hope crushed by European politics, nationalism and the cold ignorance of borders. It would be much better if we just followed the rivers.
Leroy shows what such an assessment can mean. First of all, it’s about a rhythm, a deliberate movement that grows from a tiny source and paves the way for life. Her images are calm but assertive, she digresses but she always follows the water. It’s about curiosity and changing one’s side of the river: to listen to people’s stories, perceive and be without prejudice. It’s about discovery and living off whatever grows next to us. It’s about awareness. It’s about being powerful and being fragile. Sometimes the sounds and trembling images almost drown, but then they find flotsam to hang onto and, just around the next bend, new life enriches the film.
It’s about whispering when a whisper is enough and about shouting when a shout is needed. It’s about evanescence. Leroy films the river as a symbol, but not a single image is symbolic. The river grows between the shots and people and countries and cultures. It’s about learning to swim, to let go, to float. Here, Europe is not a fortress, but a promise.
It’s about the eternal truth that you cannot jump into the same river twice. Every image counts. Annik Leroy films as if she were seeing for the last time. Maybe it has to be like that: the Danube quietly dissolving into the sea, almost as if unnoticed.

Patrick Holzapfel

Cast and Credits

Scen., F.: Annik Leroy, Marie Vermeiren. M.: Eva Houdová. Prod.: Cobra Films, Centre Bruxellois de l’Audio-Visuel, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF). 16mm. L.: 991 m. Bn.