REINHOUD, my sculptor

Blaise D'Haese

Info

a documentary film by Blaise D'Haese, in co-production with RTBF and VRT-Canvas

Blaise D’haese lost his father, Flemish sculptor Reinhoud, a few years ago. He filmed him in the intimacy of the two last years of his life when he was already in bad health. His father was already 54 at the time of his birth, so when he dies, Blaise has the impression that he does not know his father well at all. For that reason, he decides to set out on a quest.

Is it possible to get to know someone after his death? How to describe one’s father, family and self? And how does one present a work of art in a film? These are the issues the documentary presents us with. As the son sets out to cover the footsteps of his father, he seeks to find a link between his artistic adventures and private life.

The film has the significance of an art memoire, the one that resulted from the movement sculptor Reinhoud belonged to, known as Cobra and one of the last major avant-garde, post-war artistic movements, taking from expressionism and primitive folk art. It is an ideal opportunity to meet the last of its surviving protagonists: painters Corneille and certainly Pierre Alechinsky, Reinhoud’s best friend with whom he shared a studio for more than 10 years.

It is also a brief history of Belgium. The maker asks questions about the links his father had with his family and native country, which he left at the age of 30 and which he never really spoke to him about. He discovers a Flemish family and its secrets.

With humour, the maker presents a whole range of characters beyond the norm, be they artists or the women in his father’s life. Parallel to these flesh-and-blood portraits, he also shows his father’s metal sculptures and how he sees them personally: as other characters, completely separate from it all, as if they were play mates. These were the brothers and sisters who filled the house in his youth.
Beyond his quest for a departed father, the maker approaches art through a private eye. He offers us a rare testimony about the life of an artist, as it is seen from the inside and thus makes art accessible and human.

Credits

WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY BLAISE D'HAESE

WITH REINHOUD, PIERRE ALESHINSKY, CORNEILLE, and may others
EDITED BY ANAIS ENSCHAIAN

ORIGINAL MUSIC BY LAURENT SAIET

Director

This is a film about my father, the sculptor named Reinhoud, who died on 1st July 2007 at the age of 79.
I have never been able to separate the image I had of him from his work, as he dedicated all of his life to it and put everything he had and everything he was into it. Living in the houses peopled by them, his sculptures were like brothers and sisters to me. However, I only got to know my father during the last 25 years of his life. Is it possible to get to know someone after his death? What kind of life did he lead? What legacy did he leave behind? What aspects of his personality does it really reflect? How about other people? What kind of relationships did he have with the women in his life? I filmed my father in the intimacy of the last two years of his life. I wanted to depart from the film material to research the man himself, and the work he left behind, to reconstruct the character he was and to better appreciate his world. To achieve this, I spoke to the people he was close to, his family, the people he collaborated with, his partners-in-crime; painters, sculptors and writers. In a non-linear way, I have juxtaposed television archive images and interviews; interviews given by my father between 1966 and 2004 as well as films of him at work, made between 1977 and 1990 to put the sculptor’s creative gesture at the centre of the film again. […]
It is also a history of Belgium, or how one of those young artists having just been discovered decides to leave his fatherland, dismayed by the community arguments his country suffers from, incarnated in the figure of his father, a Flemish politician. He cuts the ties with his family and settles in France from 1960 onwards. He does not teach his children his mother tongue, Flemish Dutch, although his work still remains profoundly Flemish. He follows in the footsteps of Brueghel, Bosch and James Ensor and is a witness of the richness and power of Belgian culture. In its own way, the history of Reinhoud says something about the history of his country.
It will be a chance to transfer a memoire, the one of an experience from a past life, through matter; this upstart who turned his back on his religion and his family, this man, awkward from the day he was born, who took revenge on matter by making an oeuvre from the most stubborn of materials, metal, to achieve an unmatched balance in sculpting.

Awards / Festivals

Awards
Prix découverte Scam (Iselp)
Prix Contemporain Festival International Du Film Métiers D’Art
Prix du Publique Festival International Du Film Métiers D’Art

Festivals Reinhoud


Official selection Journées Internationals du Film sur l’Art (Louvre, Paris, France)
Official selection Festival International Du Film Métiers D’Art (Montpellier, France)
Official selection festival du film sur l'art Iselp (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Official selection Festival du film sur l'art - ARTFIF