La Belgique martyre (1919)

La Belgique martyre (1919) is the first fiction film to be made in Belgium after the First World War. Together with the producer Hippolyte De Kempeneer, the films young debuting director, Charles Tutelier (°1897) offers a somewhat clumsy but nevertheless fascinating view on how ordinary Belgians lived and now remember the war. A wide scale of war experiences is presented: the brutal invasion characterized by arson, civilian executions and intimidation; life under the occupation; labour deportation; life of the soldiers at the front; the electric fence at the Belgian-Dutch border; the influence of the church; the clandestine soldiers mail service (Mot du soldat) etc… The film launches a cycle of patriotic drama’s with titles such as Âme belge, Belgique, La Libre Belgique, La revanche belge etc.

Music by Hanne Deneire (composer) and Hermes Ensemble.