Brussels is Maria Tarantino’s hometown and muse. The city is also the main character of her latest documentary film project, Our City. The film’s style echoes the cult classic Amsterdam Global Village by her fellow MyCreativity Sweatshop panelist Pieter van Huystee. In this movie, director Johan van der Keuken lets his camera drift through the narrow streets and along the canals of Amsterdam, culminating many culturally diverse storylines into a motor courier-driven ode to the city.
Perhaps even more than Amsterdam, Brussels is a city that encompasses many other places. Indeed, like any modern city, Brussels is home to communities from around the world. The specific Belgian historical context adds another layer of cultural diversity to its grid: a linguistic enclave of a French speaking community in Dutch-speaking Flanders. Its role as the capital of Europe provides an additional reason for migrants to settle in the city. Whether they have always lived there, were pragmatically attracted by its French language or have flocked to the international political infrastructures that cross paths there, new and old inhabitants fit into the patchwork that together makes up the city.
Filming Brussels, Maria Tarantino paints a picture of a city “planned by businessmen and politicians, set in motion by construction workers, and animated by office people.” In Our City however, she explores the in-between spaces that have organically grown out of the meeting of contrasting cultures and traditions. Being an Italian migrant to the city herself, Tarantino provides an interesting perspective on a city that more than others depends on outsiders for its identity. Watch the trailer here:
Maria Tarantino joins us during the panel on Documentary Film: Digitization, Pitching, Authorship and will be discussing the current filmmaking environment with Sigrid Dyekjaer, Pieter van Huystee and Morgan Knibbe.