Sous le masque blanc: le film qu’Haesaerts aurait pu réaliser

Under the White Mask: The Film That Haesaerts Could Have Made
Under the white mask is a remake of a 1958 art film by Paul Haesaerts (1901-1974), known for his work on Picasso and art documentaries. Our remake of his Sous le masque noir (Under the black mask) – in the style of Gayatri Spivak’s affirmative sabotage – imagines what the masks (which are objectified in Haesaerts’s film) would say. In Under the white mask, the sculptures are not spoken about, rather they themselves look and speak back. They do this using the words by the poet, thinker, and politician Aimé Césaire. It was the occasion to translate for the first time Aimé Césaire’s “Discourse on Colonialism” into Lingala.
Césaire’s words form a confrontational and still extremely topical mirror for Europe. Moreover, by limiting our remake only to elements (text, music, images) that were already there when Haesaerts made his film in 1958, our film becomes the film Haesaerts could have made. The film refutes the often heard claim that Haesearts was a “child of this time.” In fact, he was really running behind. The film, in a way, is thus a correction, a reparation. (Matthias De Groof)
by Matthias De Groof
with Maravilha Munto
Belgium Lingala 9’ Colour, Videoinstallation


  • Maravilha Munto (voice)


DirectorMatthias De Groof
ScreenplayAimé Césaire
CinematographyPaul Haesaerts
EditingNeel Cockx
MusicSun Ra
Sound DesignNeel Cockx
SoundMatthias De Groof
ProducerDaniel De Valck

Produced by

Cobra Films

Brüssel, Belgium

+32 2 486341026

Matthias De Groof

Matthias De Groof, born in 1981 in Brussels, Belgium, is a philosopher, film scholar, and filmmaker.


2008 ôtre k’ôtre; with Kristin Rogghe, video installation · A la mode des ancêtres; video installation · Jerusalem, the Adulterous Wife; 8 min. 2010 Lobi (Hier / Demain; with Kristin Rogghe, Pierre Kigoma, Mekhar Azari, Tocha Zaventen, Amourabinto Lukoji, Rek Kandol, Eric Biansueki, Androa Mindre, 35 min. 2012 Ceci n’est pas un documentaire sur Louvain-la-Neuve; 14 min. 2018 Lobi Kuna (avant-hier / après-demain; 45 min. · Diorama; 35 min. 2019 Palimpsest of the Africa Museum; 69 min. 2020 Sous le masque blanc : le film qu’Haesaerts aurait pu réaliser (Under the white mask: The film that Haesaerts could have made.)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021