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Luc Dardenne Masterclass


On Saturday, 15th of November at the John Kassavetes Theater, Luc Dardenne, the awarded cinematographer, opened the series of masterclasses organized by the 49th Thessaloniki's International Film Festival (TIFF). Elise Domenach from ‘Positif' magazine was the co-ordinator of the masterclass. 

‘Despite the fact that Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne have won the Golden Phoenix in the Cannes Film Festival twice and have gained the respect of the European film community, they prefer keeping a low profile. Their unpretending style is evident in the way they work and therefore they are able to reach deep into the human soul. They use their cinema in an attempt to change the world ‘, pointed out TIFF's director Despina Mouzaki. 

Mr. Luc Dardenne talked about his and his brother's past when they used to work in the theater as second assistants for the writer Armand Gatti to whom they refer to as their spiritual father. He also explained how they got into documentary films. We captured people talking about their lives in the suburbs of our city. ‘Jean Luc Godard mentions that in the capitalistic society we are bound to live divided according to the urban planning. Those people we met were trapped into a tough everyday life. By filming them the world came closer to their problems'. 

However, their need for narrating new stories led them to filmmaking. Luc Dardenne stressed out that their films do not carry any political message. ‘We are not interested into ideology. What we really care about is the personal struggle and the way man confronts his own dilemmas', he clarified. 

Answering the question about how they achieve maintaining the element of suspense in their work, Luc Dardenne explained that they work in the way that Kassavetes did, using shootings in continuity. Regarding to how they interact with their actors, he said they never discuss the roles. ‘We let actors sink slowly into the script and build up the character on their own'. 

He also talked about the difficulties they sometimes face with professional actors. ‘In difficult situations some actors turn to some kind of professional method they are acquainted with and end up reproducing stereotypes' pointed out Mr. Luc Dardenne. 
The Belgian cinematographer also added that they like to create an element of surprise in their work by using non predictable lines in their dialogues. ‘We don't want to reveal everything about the characters in our films just as happens in real life where no one can get to know the other completely'. 

Commenting on the development of the European film industry, Luc Dardenne noted that the solution lies in supporting the independent films by providing a larger number of theaters and announced that he and his brother are going to open four new theaters in Brussels. 

He also noted the important role of education in the formation of the future audience. ‘School visits to theaters should be more often. A child will always remember a film which moved it and this will mark its identity for ever', he added. 

Among the people attending the masterclass were Georges Chorraface, president of the TIFF, Michael Ondaatje, president of the international jury of the 49th TIFF and winner of the Booker Award and the scriptwriter Diablo Cody, winner of the Oscar Award and member of the 49th TIFF's international jury. 


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About Thessaloniki

Mcmahon Vanessa

Vanessa McMahon Covered the 13th and 14th, and 16th edition.
Catherine Esway has covered the 12th edition of Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
Cécile Rittweger covered the  11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Christine Marik's reported from 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Past coverage from the 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival by Bruno Chatelin.

Through its tributes, it focuses both on discovering filmmakers with a unique cinematic point of view, and on the internationally recognized for their contribution to documentary.

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