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JOHAN GRIMONPREZ, On storytelling

20.10.2017 / 11:00


On storytelling 



Dit symposium laat Johan Grimonprez toe om wat meer over zijn werk te vertellen in zijn hoedanigheid van verhalenverteller, en zijn kijk op de grote verhalen die samenlevingen structureren. Hij zal zijn betoog illustreren met fragmenten uit zijn lange en korte films, alsook met voorbeelden uit zijn videoblog All Memory is Theft: On the Commons. Grimonprez heeft filmhistoricus en professor Thomas Elsaesser uitgenodigd om deze dag te openen. De dag zal worden afgesloten met de première van zijn meest recente film Blue Orchids.

Ce symposium permettra à Johan Grimonprez de revenir sur son œuvre en qualité de storyteller et de nous faire part de son regard sur les grandes histoires qui structurent les sociétés. Il illustrera ses propos d’extraits de ses longs et courts métrages, ainsi que d’exemples empruntés à son vidéoblog, All Memory is Theft: On the Commons. Grimonprez a invité l’historien du cinéma et professeur Thomas Elsaesser pour ouvrir cette journée, qui se clôturera par la première de son dernier film Blue Orchids.

This symposium will allow Johan Grimonprez to tell something more about his work as a storyteller, and his view on the great stories that structure societies. His argumentation will be illustrated with excerpts of his long and short films, as well as examples from his video blog All Memory is Theft: On the Commons. Grimonprez invited film historian and professor Thomas Elsaesser to open this day, which will close with the premiere of his latest film Blue Orchids.


Conferences in English / Lezing in het engels / Conférence en anglais

Free (incl. lunch), with reservation (required)


lecture by Thomas Elsaesser, film historian and professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
lecture by Johan Grimonprez
première of Blue Orchids (Johan Grimonprez, 2016, 48’, v: English, sub: Dutch + French)


JOHAN GRIMONPREZ   On storytelling 


Who owns our imagination in a world of existential vertigo where truth has become a shipwrecked refugee? Is it not the storyteller who can contain contradictions, who can slip between the languages we have been given, and who can become a time-traveler of the imagination?


Godard’s film Alphaville.


Urugyuan writer Eduardo Galeano once coined that we are not made of atoms as scientists say, but that we are actually made of stories. Stories is what holds us together, – or tears us apart, shaping our very idea of belonging. Ironically writer Maurice Blanchot called language an act of murder, because naming things would be identical to killing them. But novelist Alfred Döblin claims exactly the opposite: language, he says, is a form of loving others ; language lets us know why we are together. But maybe a more pertinent depiction is Vietnamese filmmaker Trin-Min Ha’s idea of language as a ‘leaking boat’: a lifeboat we are all stuck on together.

In Godard’s film Alphaville – which depicts a society in which every word relating to the idea of love is banned at the threat of a death sentence – actress Anna Karina falls in love with the protagonist. In the film’s final scene, she tries to express her feelings but, since the concept of love is foreign to her, doesn’t find the words. Might it be that we, like the characters in Alphaville, live in a society deprived of something essential, not even aware of what we actually miss because we lack the appropriate stories and concepts?

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