Tarte au Cinéma | Cinema Pie
The North American premier of Bertrand Lafontaine’s new documentary, The ABCs of Marcel Broodthaers (2020)



Broodthaers Society of America
520 West 143rd Street
New York, NY 10031

Over the next four weeks beginning Tuesday February 9, the Broodthaers Society will screen a selection of films by and about Marcel Broodthaers. The screenings are offered by appointment, either via Zoom or in-person. There is no size limit for Zoom screenings; in-person screenings are limited to four people maximum but include a fresh pie baked by the director of the Broodthaers Society. Screening requests from individuals and institutions are equally welcome.



The film program features the North American premier of The ABCs of Marcel Broodthaers (2020), a new one-hour documentary by Bertrand Lafontaine that is a candid, sometimes cloying, always informative look at Broodthaers through the eyes of some of the artist’s closest friends and art world colleagues, including gallerist Anny De Decker, publisher Yves Gevaert, curator Kasper König, and painter Walter Swennen. Broodthaers’ widow, Maria Gilissen, acts as de facto master of ceremonies, offering personal insights on her late husband’s peripatetic life and peculiar work ethic. Broodthaers himself makes many archival film footage appearances, his personage by turns evoking the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Kurt Schwitters, P T Barnum, and Baudelaire.


The ABCs of Marcel Broodthaers was produced in conjunction with Soleil Politique, a survey exhibition organized in 2019 by the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (M UHKA), Antwerp. The documentary was first broadcast on Belgian public television and was nominated for a 2020 Belgian Emmy award. The ABCs of Marcel Broodthaers is being screened with the permission of Bertrand Lafontaine; the Marcel Broodthaers films are being screened without permission.

Synopses of the films on hand by Marcel Broodthaers

La Clef de l’Horloge: a poème cinématographique en l’honneur de Kurt Schwitters (1958)
MB’s first foray into so-called avant garde film, first screened at the Knokke Film Festival. Already Broodthaers is interested in confusing media, writing a poem with celluloid and playing with ideas of focus and illumination within the overall focused and projected image

Le Corbeau et Le Renard (1967)
the infamous Aesop fable is the inspiration for MB’s addition of language, motion, and overlay to his play on the visible and invisible, the hidden and the illuminated. [Due to its requiring site-specific projection, this film can only be seen in person]

Un Film de Charles Baudelaire (1970)
On the heels of having attended a critical seminar on the French poet in 1969, MB makes his second “spoof” of sorts by assuming Baudelaire’s identity and making a film under his name, thirty-four years before motion pictures were invented

La Pluie (un projet pour un texte) (1969)
MB decamps to the garden for a productive afternoon of writing

La Pipe Satire (1969)
MB’s first “spoof” of sorts, a screen test for the infamous subject of a painting by his life-long mentor, René Magritte

A Voyage on the North Sea (1973-74)
MB begins where he started, so to speak, with a penultimate media confusion: a film that chronicles the contents of an artist’s book about a painting of a sailing ship. No one medium takes precedent over the other, nor do any of them bring us any closer to the original painting, let alone the sea


To request a remote screening via Zoom, or in-person screening at the Broodthaers Society (with pie), click here

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