L' Oeuvre au noir


1h 50m 1988

Brief Synopsis

Set in the middle of the 16th century, a doctor with opposing political views is betrayed by his friends and hunted by the authorities.

Film Details

Also Known As
Abyss, The, Oeuvre au noir
Release Date
1988
Location
Italy; Belgium

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Synopsis

Set in the middle of the 16th century, a doctor with opposing political views is betrayed by his friends and hunted by the authorities.

Film Details

Also Known As
Abyss, The, Oeuvre au noir
Release Date
1988
Location
Italy; Belgium

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Articles

TCM Remembers Andre Delvaux - Andre Delvaux (1926-2002)


Andre Delvaux, the Belgian director considered the father of his country's film industry and revered for bringing Belgian art films to international attention, died on October 4 of a heart attack in Valencia, Spain at the age of 76.

He was born in March 21, 1926 Heverlee, near Louvain, Belgium. Delvaux studied German philosophy at the Free University of Brussels and piano at Belgium's Royal Conservatory, but his love for the cinema emerged in his early 20s, while he was working as a pianist accompanying silent pictures at the Belgian cinematheque. After becoming head of film education for Belgian teachers, he began making television documentaries, mostly on film directors, the most successful being a four-part series about Federico Fellini in 1960. Two years later, he helped found Insas, a film school that would produce many of Belgium's new generation of filmmakers.

His first film was the acclaimed feature, The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965). A unique story about a middle-aged lawyer's compulsive visits to the barber, which symbolized the psychosis brought on by his idealistic love for a pupil at a girls' school where he teaches. Elegantly shot in black-and-white by the celebrated Belgian cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet (who would work on five more features with Delvaux), the film, veered between beauty and ugliness, illusion and reality, and an interest in surrealism.

Delvaux's preoccupation with the merging of dream and reality - in the tradition of Flemish painters from Bosch to Magritte, was explored further in the stunning One Night, A Train (1968), starring Yves Montand as a nationalist Flemish professor living with Anouk Aimee, a French-speaking theatrical designer. One autumn evening, she disappears on a train journey, and he, in an unknown region, begins to look for her, while coming to terms with himself and their relationship. Delicately photographed by Cloquet, this sad story of lost love sublimely fused past and present, reality and fantasy.

Delvaux's output has been limited over the years, but there have been cinematic gems: the ethereal Belle (1973), where a middle-aged professor has an affair with a mysterious woman he meets in the woods and it's never revealed whether the woman is real or imaginary; the whimsical 90-minute documentary, To Woody Allen from Europe with Love (1980), with both directors sharing a love of young women, Bergman and surrealism; and the magnificent Benvenuta (1983), involving a writer who visits a famed author in Ghent to discuss how much of her writing is invention and how much is autobiographical, a plot that allowed Delvaux to play an elaborate game with reality and fantasy, and time and place, in a series of painterly-like images.

Unfortunately, Delvaux had been inactive from filmmaking since the late 1980's and his films have received very little distribution in the United States, and are not available on DVD or shown on cable television. His small following on these shores exists solely through word of mouth on the arthouse circuit and the odd film festival in major cities. The loss is ours. Granted, Delvaux's subject matter, hallucinatory textures and delicate execution may not be for all tastes, but for those so inclined, his films can be a uniquely rewarding and pleasurable experience.

by Michael T. Toole
Tcm Remembers Andre Delvaux - Andre Delvaux (1926-2002)

TCM Remembers Andre Delvaux - Andre Delvaux (1926-2002)

Andre Delvaux, the Belgian director considered the father of his country's film industry and revered for bringing Belgian art films to international attention, died on October 4 of a heart attack in Valencia, Spain at the age of 76. He was born in March 21, 1926 Heverlee, near Louvain, Belgium. Delvaux studied German philosophy at the Free University of Brussels and piano at Belgium's Royal Conservatory, but his love for the cinema emerged in his early 20s, while he was working as a pianist accompanying silent pictures at the Belgian cinematheque. After becoming head of film education for Belgian teachers, he began making television documentaries, mostly on film directors, the most successful being a four-part series about Federico Fellini in 1960. Two years later, he helped found Insas, a film school that would produce many of Belgium's new generation of filmmakers. His first film was the acclaimed feature, The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965). A unique story about a middle-aged lawyer's compulsive visits to the barber, which symbolized the psychosis brought on by his idealistic love for a pupil at a girls' school where he teaches. Elegantly shot in black-and-white by the celebrated Belgian cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet (who would work on five more features with Delvaux), the film, veered between beauty and ugliness, illusion and reality, and an interest in surrealism. Delvaux's preoccupation with the merging of dream and reality - in the tradition of Flemish painters from Bosch to Magritte, was explored further in the stunning One Night, A Train (1968), starring Yves Montand as a nationalist Flemish professor living with Anouk Aimee, a French-speaking theatrical designer. One autumn evening, she disappears on a train journey, and he, in an unknown region, begins to look for her, while coming to terms with himself and their relationship. Delicately photographed by Cloquet, this sad story of lost love sublimely fused past and present, reality and fantasy. Delvaux's output has been limited over the years, but there have been cinematic gems: the ethereal Belle (1973), where a middle-aged professor has an affair with a mysterious woman he meets in the woods and it's never revealed whether the woman is real or imaginary; the whimsical 90-minute documentary, To Woody Allen from Europe with Love (1980), with both directors sharing a love of young women, Bergman and surrealism; and the magnificent Benvenuta (1983), involving a writer who visits a famed author in Ghent to discuss how much of her writing is invention and how much is autobiographical, a plot that allowed Delvaux to play an elaborate game with reality and fantasy, and time and place, in a series of painterly-like images. Unfortunately, Delvaux had been inactive from filmmaking since the late 1980's and his films have received very little distribution in the United States, and are not available on DVD or shown on cable television. His small following on these shores exists solely through word of mouth on the arthouse circuit and the odd film festival in major cities. The loss is ours. Granted, Delvaux's subject matter, hallucinatory textures and delicate execution may not be for all tastes, but for those so inclined, his films can be a uniquely rewarding and pleasurable experience. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1988

Released in United States 1989

Shown at Chicago International Film Festival Novemver 5 & 6, 1988.

Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (out of competition) August 24-September 4, 1988.

Began shooting November 1987.

Released in United States 1988 (Shown at Chicago International Film Festival Novemver 5 & 6, 1988.)

Released in United States 1988 (Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (out of competition) August 24-September 4, 1988.)

Released in United States 1989 (Shown at AFI European Community Film Festival in New York City June 7, 1989; in Washington, DC June 8-26, 1989; in Los Angeles June 23-29, 1989; in Minneapolis July 1-24, 1989.)