Freedom of expression is under threat throughout the world. A remarkable cinematic short film, by Jaco Van Dormael [Mr Nobody] through Hamlet Brussels, reminds Europe how important that freedom is, for Kommitment’s European Union campaign, EUandME.
The film, The Shape, shows a black cloud settling over a pleasant French village. A deluge of black rain begins pouring from the sky trapping the villagers into shelter, unable to go anywhere.
The downpour destroys musical instruments, radios, computers and halts the freedom of civilian life as they know it. One woman, who has been reading Paul Eluard’s poem, Liberté, an ode to liberty which was written in 1942 during the German occupation of France, decides to act. Boldly, she goes outside and recites the poem with passion. The downpour stops, its cloud moves away and village life is restored.
The film ends with the statement, “Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ensures that all Europeans have one of the greatest powers of all – freedom of expression and media pluralism. It’s up to all of us to uphold it.”
The EUandME films underpin the European Union’s fundamental beliefs and opportunities for its citizens within the EU, such as the right to live without discrimination, freedom to travel, live, study and work across borders, promoting help with start-up businesses and freedom of speech.
All the films from the EUandME initiative can be seen here.
Jaco Van Dormael commented, “The script was good, so it was easy to direct. It is important to me because Europe is important to me. When you put a cardboard box in a field full of crows, the old crows fly away with fear, and the young crows are curious and go close to look at the box. Therefore it is important that the young people vote for Europe, not because of fear, but because of passion.”
Hamlet director, Jaco Van Dormael, wrote and directed several short fiction and documentary films before writing and directing four internationally acclaimed feature films: Toto Le Héro (1991) with Michel Bouquet awarded with a Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Le Huitième Jour starring Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil (1996) who went on to win Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, Mr. Nobody (2009) with Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger and Lin Dan Pham, which was awarded at the Venice Film Festival and the Magritte Awards (Magritte for Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay) and won the Audience Award at the European Film Awards. The New Testament (2015), co-written with Thomas Gunzig and starring Benoit Poelvoorde, Yolande Moreau, François Damiens and Catherine Deneuve, won four awards at the 2016 Magritte Awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The film was also presented at the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.