De Engel van Doel

An Angel in Doel
The little village of Doel stands in the way of the expanding port of Antwerp. The demolition permit has been granted – the past must make way for the future. Emilienne, a sprightly old lady, sees things differently. She doesn’t want to move – she’s far too happy in her house with its wild garden. But the expansion work is progressing and Doel already seems almost like a ghost town. Only the oldest inhabitants, including Emilienne’s friend Colette and the elderly village rector, remain, holding out tenaciously in the face of their shared fate. When the rector dies and Colette appears to give up, Emilienne is left behind all alone. De Engel van Doel tells not only of the victims of the belief in progress, but also shows through Emilienne an active and wily representative of the protest culture that has flared up in recent times. The battle to save the last houses in Doel seems hopeless and absurd, as volatile as it is contemporary. The black-and-white format enhances the hostile atmosphere and the camera provides some powerful snapshots: a gigantic freighter silently nosing its way past Doel in the fog, or when the flowery wallpaper of a derelict house provides the backdrop for an improvised band rehearsal while Emilienne, the last angel of Doel, doggedly goes on feeding her chickens.
by Tom Fassaert Netherlands / Belgium 2011 77’

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