Movie Session 1: Docos for Politicos: ‘The Illegal We do Immediately, the Unconstitutional Takes a Little Longer’

Panel Code

Screening 1: Besmette Stad (part 1): Video-Guerrilleros (1994-2007)

Directed by: Johan Grimonprez with Paul Garrin, Meg Stuart, Alison Murray & Pascal Baes


Upon invitation by the Belgian TV program Ziggurat, Johan Grimonprez portrays the urban landscape of Brussels as a 'state of mind'. This short film zooms in on the interaction between film, performance, dance and literature during the festival Besmette Stad |The Infected City, organized by the Beursschouwburg. It features video-guerrillero Paul Garrin, choreographer Meg Stuart, filmmaker Pascal Baes, performance artist Alison Murray, and participants of a filmmakers’ workshop in Molenbeek, initiated by Francisca Lambrechts.

Duration: 18 min

Besmette Stad.jpg

Screening 2: dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997)

Written and directed by: Johan Grimonprez


Buckle up for dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, the acclaimed hijacking documentary that eerily foreshadowed 9-11. We meet the romantic skyjackers who fought their revolutions and won airtime on the passenger planes of the 1960’s. By the 1990s, such characters apparently are no more, replaced on our TV screens by stories of state-sponsored suitcase bombs. Director Johan Grimonprez investigates the politics behind this change, at the same time unwrapping our own complicity in the urge for ultimate disaster. Playing on Don DeLillo’s riff in the novel MAO II: ‘what terrorists gain, novelists lose’ and ‘home is a failed idea’, he blends archive hijackings with surreal and banal themes including fast food, pet statistics, disco and his quirky home movies. David Shea wrote the superb soundtrack to this roller coaster through history, best described in the words of one hijacked Pepsi executive as: “running the gamut of many emotions: from surprise to shock, to fear, to joy, to laughter and then again, fear.”

Duration: 68 min


See also: Interview with Johan Grimonprez


No accepted papers currently in this panel.