Review: ‘The Sexual Life of the Belgians Part 3: The Closing Down of the Renault Factory at Vilvoorde’

Iconoclastic filmmaker and all-round Belgian media personality Jan Bucquoy has continued his series of personal films with an agitprop documentary. Not pure docu by any means, pic incorporates clips from famous revolutionary films (Jean Renoir's "La vie est a nous," Eisenstein's "October," even the Lumieres' "Workers Leaving the Factory") as well as sardonic comments from the filmmaker and far-fetched plotting.

Iconoclastic filmmaker and all-round Belgian media personality Jan Bucquoy has continued his series of personal films with an agitprop documentary. Not pure docu by any means, pic incorporates clips from famous revolutionary films (Jean Renoir’s “La vie est a nous,” Eisenstein’s “October,” even the Lumieres’ “Workers Leaving the Factory”) as well as sardonic comments from the filmmaker and far-fetched plotting. Transferred to 35mm from video, film has a rough look and will be too politically specific for wide acceptance, but festivals should take a look at this raw, moving and quite funny item.

Incensed by the arbitrary way car manufacturer Renault announces the closure of a factory in the town of Vilvoorde early in 1997, Bucquoy takes a camera to cover the strikes and demonstrations that follow. Mix of potent docu footage, wonderful archival material and the fictional fantasy of the kidnapping of Renault’s chairman ensures pic will be of interest to students of political cinema. And the sex? On several occasions helmer is seen happily indulging with a female partner — scenes that have nothing to do with rest of film but at least justify its title.

The Sexual Life of the Belgians Part 3: The Closing Down of the Renault Factory at Vilvoorde

Belgian

Production

A Transatlantic Films/Francis De Smet Films production. (International Sales: Brussels Ave, Brussels.) Produced by Jan Bucquoy. Executive producer, Francis De Smet. Directed, written by Jan Bucquoy.

Crew

Camera (color, video-to-35mm), Editor, Nathalie Sartiaux. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 12, 1999. Running time: 84 MIN.
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