Courtisane festival 2021

20th edition - notes on cinema
20 October, 2021 - 24 October, 2021


Dear Spectator,

Perhaps you, too, have experienced it. This awkward sense of watching without seeing, listening without hearing, of going through the motions and emotions of a mannered existence without truly landing on anything. As if we, temporarily, lost touch with our ability to feel wonder and respond to what we find startling.

It’s been too long since we found ourselves nestled up in those spaces where the flickering light on the screen lights up our faces, in those rooms that seem to be found beneath the sea, where time flows past indifferently above us, before heading silently, uncertainly, a little dazed and confused, back outside, where we find one another slowly coming to our senses. It’s been far too long, and we can’t wait to share with you once more that precious feeling of landing in the present tense, of being absolutely located. Right here, right now.

While working on this year’s festival programme, we have become more and more aware of the value of connection, of being connected to what we’re engaging with, of being fully immersed in whatever occupies us. This is what has startled us in the work of C.W. Winter & Anders Edström, whose extended investment-over-time in people and place has resulted in shared experiences that are both expansive and intimate in their portrayal of lives that are remarkably, yet beautifully, unremarkable. We can feel it radiating in the films of Sandra Lahire, whose impassioned explorations of vulnerability, resilience and interconnectedness have acquired an intensity and urgency which resonate with us now more than ever. Time and again, the artists and filmmakers in this program have offered us ways of re-tuning our ears and re-calibrating our eyes to the drops of experience that make up our lives.

Sometimes we need the force of the unforeseen to snap us out of the lonely daze of the daily grind. Sometimes we need to let go of the overly-determined or pre-ordained and embrace the uncertain and unrhymed to get ourselves and those with us in the moment into a more connected space. We sincerely hope that this festive 20th edition of the Courtisane festival has some of those moments to offer, those all too precious moments that make it possible for us to grasp the fruit of that other place where commonality begins.




After a successful collaboration in 2020, Film Fest Gent and Courtisane are once more joining forces for this festival edition which will exceptionally run parallel to Film Fest Gent 2021.