A poetic essay film on the colonial gaze and the magic lantern. This early type of image projector was used in Belgian colonial propaganda, showcasing the good works of the Church, State and industry. Lantern projections were an effective way of selling the colonial project to a somewhat reluctant Belgian public.
However fragile images made of glass may be, many thousands survived. Often lavishly hand colored, these tainted, horribly beautiful images helped shape the ways in which Europeans viewed, thought of, spoke about, and treated the colonial other. This tension between aesthetic experience and the reverberations of colonial ideology is central to the film. In composing an associative fabric of assemblages and collages, the film attempts to map the colonial gaze from a broken view, how it persists across time and shapes the way we view, think of, and speak about the past.
“Broken View doesn’t shy away from the ambiguity and appeal of the hand-coloured photos which were used to impose the racist discourse of the Belgian colonial nightmare. Instead, it captures the diabolical essence of the latter, conveying its mind-numbing complexity, in an accumulation of quotations and overexposure of images and texts which turn it into a jam-packed and painful essay, as well as an aesthetically exhilarating film.”
“Perhaps the only way to be able to show these images is when they are set in motion within a poetic space that aims to do justice to the realities of oppression from which they were taken.”
“To mark a beginning, I felt I had to start putting images and words together from the get-go, seeing montage not as a final stage of the filmmaking process, but rather as a way of beginning, montage as a way of writing.”