Thierry Zéno was born on 22 april 1950 in Namur. He graduated from the IAD Brussels as film director in 1973. After his medium-length film Bouche sans fond ouverte sur les horizons (1971), a portrait of the painter Georges Moinet, the film that really introduces Zéno to the world is unquestionably Vase de noces [Wedding Trough] (1974), made at only 24 years old and in which the filmmaker presents the everyday life and rituals of a man who has withdrawn from the world of humans and is in love with a sow. Although programmed at numerous festivals, notably Cannes in 1975, the film also encountered fierce rejection. After Death in California, a Gentle Exit (1978) and before Les Hmong et la mort (1980), Des morts (1979) provides a new cinematographic shock. Zéno films death from close by, capturing that which cannot (does not want to) be seen by the human eye. He also directed several portraits of artists, such as the painter Félicien Rops, the writer Eugène Ionesco and the sculptor Olivier Strebelle. Also a plastic artist, he became involved in art education, creating first the cinematography and then the videography department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Molenbeek Saint-Jean (of which he will also become director), remaining so right up to his death on 7 June, 2017.
How are human beings considered throughout the world when they are consigned to the realm of death? Over a two-year period, the three directors filmed funeral rites in South Korea, Thailand, Mexico, Belgium and the USA.
A man is in love with a sow. She gives birth to piglets. He hangs them. Out of despair the mother commits suicide. There follows an analysis of decomposition, the devouring of shit and the man’s death, his body flying through the sky.