Lorsque Le Bateau De Léon M. Descendit La Meuse Pour La Première Fois

Belgiuo, 1979, 40' 


The labourer and militant Léon Masy describes the great movements that shook Belgium in the early sixties: they were dubbed “the strike of the century” with the stop of coal and steel production, maritime and railway traffic, including repeated acts of sabotage… the man, now old, descends down the Meuse and goes back on his experience in first person; his voice is juxtaposed with that of the two filmmakers, who question the meaning of memory and the power of the revolutionary act. Around them flows the glimmering river, while we get glimpses of the grey industrial landscape of a bygone era.

Shot in video, this film marks the beginnings of the Dardenne brothers as witnesses to their country’s working-class past. This history of struggles seems to vanish quickly, along with political awareness; this is why turning on a camera means preserving traces of working-class Liège but, at the same time, reflecting on which is the best way to transform a testimony into collective memory.

The event is finished.

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 07 Nov 2022
  • Time: 9:00


Istituto Francese Florence
Jean-Pierre e Luc Dardenne


Jean-Pierre e Luc Dardenne

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are Belgian directors, screenwriters and producers. After studying drama, Jean-Pierre, and philosophy, Luc, the Dardenne brothers shot their first militant works, filming social struggles in Belgian working-class neighbourhoods. In the late 1970s, they founded film production companies and made their first documentary films, including Lorsque le bateau de Léon M. descendit la Meuse pour la première fois (1979), Pour que la guerre s'achève, les murs devaient s'écrouter (1980), R... ne répond plus (1981), Leçons d'une université volante (1982) and Regard Jonathan/Jean Louvet, 231 (1983). In 1996 their third fiction film, La Promesse, was presented at the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes, but it was not until 1999 that they gained international recognition with their first Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with the film Rosetta. In 2005 they won their second Palme d'Or with L'Enfant - A Love Story and in 2008 The Silence of Lorna, dedicated to the theme of illegal immigration and white marriage, brought them the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Among their most recent works, The Kid with a Bike won the Special Jury Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and Tori and Lokita, Special Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2022.

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