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The suppression of satirizing Belgian community difficulties in Flemish cinema and the film adaptation of Will-O’-the Wisp

Gertjan Willems (UGent)
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Abstract
In his article "The Suppression of Satirizing Belgian Community Difficulties in Flemish Cinema and the Film Adaptation of Will-O'-the Wisp" Gertjan Willems analyzes two film projects of Frans Buyens. In 1970, Buyens received a positive funding recommendation for Top-Hit Girl, a satire about community difficulties in Belgium. However, Minister of Culture Frans van Mechelen refused to support the project because it conflicted with his pro-Flemish views. The minister successfully swept this controversial decision under the rug by offering Buyens the option to trade his socially critical project for a film adaptation of Willem Elsschot's novel Will-O'-the Wisp. This case study sheds new light on an understudied period in Belgian cinema and on the work of Frans Buyens. It demonstrates how the Flemish cinema landscape could be heavily influenced by political ideologies and interventions. Political maneuvers ensured that a satirical treatment of Belgian community difficulties in cinema was suppressed. Flemish cinema was instead directed towards adapting literary classics, thereby confirming the national culture instead of critically investigating it.
Keywords
Belgian cinema, Flemish cinema, Dutch cinema, Frans Buyens, Willems Elsschot, Het Dwaallicht, Frans van Mechelen, Vlaamse beweging, adaptatie

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Chicago
Willems, Gertjan. 2017. “The Suppression of Satirizing Belgian Community Difficulties in Flemish Cinema and the Film Adaptation of Will-O’-the Wisp.” Clcweb-comparative Literature and Culture 19 (4).
APA
Willems, Gertjan. (2017). The suppression of satirizing Belgian community difficulties in Flemish cinema and the film adaptation of Will-O’-the Wisp. CLCWEB-COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND CULTURE , 19(4).
Vancouver
1.
Willems G. The suppression of satirizing Belgian community difficulties in Flemish cinema and the film adaptation of Will-O’-the Wisp. CLCWEB-COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND CULTURE . 2017;19(4).
MLA
Willems, Gertjan. “The Suppression of Satirizing Belgian Community Difficulties in Flemish Cinema and the Film Adaptation of Will-O’-the Wisp.” CLCWEB-COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND CULTURE 19.4 (2017): n. pag. Print.
@article{8545631,
  abstract     = {In his article "The Suppression of Satirizing Belgian Community Difficulties in Flemish Cinema and the Film Adaptation of Will-O'-the Wisp" Gertjan Willems analyzes two film projects of Frans Buyens. In 1970, Buyens received a positive funding recommendation for Top-Hit Girl, a satire about community difficulties in Belgium. However, Minister of Culture Frans van Mechelen refused to support the project because it conflicted with his pro-Flemish views. The minister successfully swept this controversial decision under the rug by offering Buyens the option to trade his socially critical project for a film adaptation of Willem Elsschot's novel Will-O'-the Wisp. This case study sheds new light on an understudied period in Belgian cinema and on the work of Frans Buyens. It demonstrates how the Flemish cinema landscape could be heavily influenced by political ideologies and interventions. Political maneuvers ensured that a satirical treatment of Belgian community difficulties in cinema was suppressed. Flemish cinema was instead directed towards adapting literary classics, thereby confirming the national culture instead of critically investigating it.},
  articleno    = {2},
  author       = {Willems, Gertjan},
  issn         = {1481-4374 },
  journal      = {CLCWEB-COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND CULTURE },
  keywords     = {Belgian cinema,Flemish cinema,Dutch cinema,Frans Buyens,Willems Elsschot,Het Dwaallicht,Frans van Mechelen,Vlaamse beweging,adaptatie},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  title        = {The suppression of satirizing Belgian community difficulties in Flemish cinema and the film adaptation of Will-O’-the Wisp},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.3052},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2017},
}

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