Courtisane festival 2022 - 21st edition

notes on cinema
30 March, 2022 - 3 April, 2022
  • MINARD, SPHINX CINEMA, KASKCINEMA, PADDENHOEK - GHENT

“An informal tribe whose members recognise each other when they meet”, so reads the opening text of Encontros, the cinematic ensemble of affinities and encounters that Pierre-Marie Goulet wove together around the polyphonic music culture of Portugal’s Alentejo Region. The film grew out of an urge to “circumscribe the presence of a sonorous, musical, poetic, human tribe; an analogous and surprising tribe whose territory does not correspond to any geographically known area.” Poems meet landscapes, poets and singers find each other in beauty and wonder, and traditional songs travel across borders to mingle with each other today. Goulet’s aim was not to resurrect the memory of a culture in the process of dying out and to take stock of its sad state of affairs, but to open the way for the living forces that do not take into account the divisions between here and there, between yesterday and tomorrow.

What we recognise in the film, what moves us deeply, is precisely what we desire from the land called cinema. A land that does not appear on any geographical map but which, at the same time, includes them all. A land that resists preconceived topographies and constantly renews itself as a promise of unexpected encounters and borderless connections between times, spaces and people. A land, as critic Serge Daney once wrote, that we adopt so that it could adopt us in turn. It is this land that we travel with love, always looking for new adventures and perspectives, always open to deviations that could take us off the beaten track.

But the journey would hardly be memorable without the opportunity to share the experience. It is this act of sharing that is at the heart of the Courtisane festival, which is constructed as a fabric of cinematic works that have made an impression over the past year—old and new, local and international, short and long. It is through this shared experience that we hope to form the ground for a similar “informal tribe”, as Goulet described it: as a tribe of spectators and listeners who find each other in wonder and enchantment. We sincerely hope, therefore, that you experience the festival program as we tend to do: as a multiplicity of voices, worlds of sound and image that—as one of the poems in Encontros indicates—“bring us that familiar certainty / that we have never been alone.”