Belgium. Dir. Christina Vandekerckhove. 2017, 70 mins. Digital projection. In Dutch with English subtitles. U.S. premiere. With the eye of an artist and the preservationist instincts of a cultural anthropologist, documentarian Christina Vandekerckhove chronicles the last months of life in a dilapidated Ghent high-rise slated for demolition. A 1970s prestige project designed as a utopian solution to low cost housing, the modernist Rabot towers instead became a symbol of urban blight. Capturing intimate moments in the day-to-day lives of a host of the building’s soon-to-be-displaced residents, Vandekerckhove finds both tragedy—poverty, illness, addiction, loneliness—as well as touching scenes of warmth, humor, and humanity. The result is both a striking architectural record of urban decay and a deeply compassionate view of the humanity in its midst.
This film is part of MoMI’s Panorama Europe Film Festival.