Henri Storck - Director





Nationality: Belgian. Born: Ostend, 5 September 1907. Family: Married photographer Virginia Lierens. Career: Began making films in 8mm, 1927; organized cine-club in Ostend, made first "reportages," 1928; assistant in France to Pierre Billon, Jean Croillon, and Jean Vigo, 1931; with Joris Ivens, made Borinage , 1933; began making films about art and folklore, 1936; directed first Belgian-international co-production, Le Banquet des fraudeurs , 1951; president (for fifteen years), Association Belge des Auteurs de Films et Auteurs de Television, and co-founder, Royal Film Archive of Belgium. Died: 16 September 1999, in Brussels, Belgium, of natural causes.


Films as Director:

1927–28

amateur films on Ostend

1929–30

Pour vos beaux yeux ; Images d'Ostende

1930

Une Pêche au hareng ; Le Service de sauvetage sur la côte belge ; Les Fêtes du centenaire ; Trains de plaisir ; Tentative de films abstraits ; La Mort de Vénus ; Suzanne au bain ; Ostende, reine des plages

1931

Une Idylle à la plage

1932

Travaux du tunnel sous l'Escaut ; Histoire du soldat inconnu ; Sur les bords de la caméra

1933

Trois Vies une corde ; Misère au Borinage (co-d, co-ph)

1934

Création d'ulcères artificiels chez le chien ; La Production sélective du réseau à soixante-dix

1935

Electrification de la ligne Bruxelles-Anvers ; L'Île de Pâques ; Le Trois-Mâts ; Cap du sud ; L'Industrie de la tapisserie et du meuble sculpté ; Le Coton

1936

Les Carillons ; Les Jeux de l'été et de la mer ; Sur les routes de l'ete ; Regards sur la Belgique ancienne

1937

La Belgique nouvelle ; Un ennemi public ; Les Maisons de la misère

1938

Comme une lettre à la poste ; La Roue de la fortune ; Terre de Flandre ; Vacances ; Le Patron est mort

1939

Voor Recht en Vrijheid te Kortrijk

1940

La Foire internationale de Bruxelles

1942–44

Symphonie paysanne (co-d, ph)

1944

Le Monde de Paul Delvaux (+ ph)

1947

La Joie de revivre

1947–48

Rubens

1949

Au carrefour de la vie

1950

Carnavals

1951

Le Banquet des fraudeurs (feature)

1952

La Fenêtre ouverte

1953

Herman Teirlinck

1954

Les Belges et la mer ; Les Portes de la maison ; Le Tour du monde en bateau-stop

1955

Le Trésor d'Ostende

1956

Décembre , mois des enfants

1957

Couleur de feu

1957–60

Les Seigneurs de la forêt

1960

Les Gestes du silence

1961

Les Dieux du feu ; L'Énergie et vous

1962

Variation sur le geste ; Le Bonheur d'être aimée (+ co-pr, co-sc); Les Malheurs de la guerre

1963

Plastiques

1964

Matières nouvelles

1965

Le Musée vivant

1966

Jeudi on chantera comme dimanche

1968

Forêt secrète d'Afrique

1969–70

Paul Delvaux ou les femmes défendues (+ ed)

1969–72

Fêtes de Belgiques

1974–75

Fifres et tambours d'Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse ; Marcheurs de Sainte Rolende ; Les Joyeux Tromblons

1985

Permeke (+ sc)

Other Film:

1975

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman) (role as 1st caller)

1987

Henri Storck: Ooggetuige (consultant)

1998

Mes entretiens filmés (role)



Publications


By STORCK: articles—

Interview, in Documentary Explorations , by G. Roy Levin, New York, 1972.

Interview with Bert Hogenkamp, in Skrien (Amsterdam), July/August 1977.

Interview with J. P. Everaerts in Film en Televisie (Brussels), September 1987.

Interviews with A. Tournès in Jeune Cinéma (Paris), May/June and July/August 1988.

Interview with J. Petley and M. Chanan, in Vertigo (Paris), no. 4, 1994/1995.

"Why the Documentary Cinema?" in Vertigo (Paris), no. 4, 1994/1995.

"Henri Storck, humaniste engage," an interview with C. Chauville and V. Hamon, in Bref (Paris), Summer 1995.

Interview with F. Tanzarella, in Cineforum (Bergamo), January-February 1996.

"Je ne suis pas tres tenace," an interview with L. Baron, in Ciné-Bulles (Montreal), no. 2, 1997.


On STORCK: articles—

Blakeston, Oswell, "The Romantic Cinema of Henri Storck," in Architectural Review (New York), May 1931.

Bassan, R., "Storck le touche-à-tout," in Ecran (Paris), September 1977.

Grelier, R., "Henri Storck," in Image et Son (Paris), September 1977.

Davay, P., "Henri Storck à l'honneur," in Amis du Film et de la Télévision (Brussels), January 1979.

"Storck Issue" of Revue Belge du Cinéma (Brussels), August 1979.

De Bongnie, J., "Storck vu par un jeune Hudon," in Amis du Film et de la Télévision (Brussels), November 1979.

"Storck Section" of Revue Belge du Cinéma (Brussels), Winter/Spring 1983/84.

Vrielynck, R., "Sincerite et bon sens," in Plateau , vol. 7, no. 3, 1986.

Everaerts, Jan-Pieter, in Film en Televisie + Video (Brussels), September 1987.

Storck, Henri, "Henry Storck, témoin fraternel," in Jeune Cinéma (Paris), July-August 1988.

Euvrard, Michel, and Lily Baron, "Le documentaire en Belgique," in Ciné-Bulles (Montreal), Summer 1997.


* * *


After growing up in the seaside town of Ostend, Henri Storck naturally chose the beach and the sea, with the surrounding sand dunes, as background and subject for many of his early films. He became friendly with Ostend's resident and visiting artists, and they all apparently absorbed creative strength from the solid tradition of Flemish paintings as well as physical stamina from the invigorating North Sea air. Primarily a documentarist, Storck's prolific output of over seventy films does include a couple of fiction films: Une Idylle à la plage , a short film about adolescent love; and Le Banquet des fraudeurs , a feature film with a thriller framework.

Storck has described the work of his mentor, Charles DeKeukeleire, another Belgian film pioneer, as having "lyrical expression, faithfulness to authentic reality, and a sense of rhythm in editing." These words are just as applicable to Storck's own oeuvre. Borinage , a film about a coal miners' strike in the Borinage—a district southwest of Brussels—is a powerful revelation of the miners' living conditions. The film cinematically echoes the feelings that Van Gogh expressed in his drawings of an earlier period. Borinage is full of strong, intense images. A daring project, made in collaboration with Joris Ivens, the film had to be shot covertly in order to evade the police. Banned from public showing in Belgium and Holland at the time it was released, Borinage became a time-tested classic and an inspiration to the "Grierson boys" in England. Symphonie paysanne , made in a completely different style, depicted the passage of the seasons on a Belgian farm. This pastoral eulogy again demonstrated Storck's ability to express his humane sensibility in a cinematic manner.

After the war, Storck immensely enhanced a developing genre—films analyzing the visual arts. Rubens (made in collaboration with Paul Haesaerts) and The World of Paul Delvaux are outstanding examples which were immediately recognized as tours de force. The Open Window and The Sorrows of the War were also worthy contributions to this category. A later film about Delvaux, Paul Delvaux or the Forbidden Women , was, to Storck's great amusement, promoted on Times Square as a pornographic film. In his films about art, Storck was particularly innovative in his use of camera movement to display the details of the art works, and in some films used animated lines to demonstrate their structures of composition. Henri Storck's humanistic vision is revealed by his films and crosses all national and cultural boundaries.

—Robert Edmonds

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