76 minutes

It's clear why Dutch filmmaker Tom Fassaert called his debut feature “an angel in Doel”. There is in fact one person standing guard over that Belgian village about to be razed to make way for an expansion of the Antwerp harbour, though Emilienne Driesen, an elderly widow who stolidly refuses to leave the only house she's ever known, is hardly a patron saint, let alone an angel: she likes her pint and her cigarette even though her health issues preclude both. 

     Mr. Fassaert's film, shot over six years as Doel dies slowly, is starkly stylized – filmed in black and white, it focuses on Emilienne's kitchen and the emptying streets of the village as she has her regular visits from and with friends, occasionally setting up “angelcam” plans from above a light fixture. Elegantly avoiding any sort of narration or timeline, it unfolds as a portrait of an aging world raging against the dying of the light, a poignant reminder of the silent eroding and erasing of history and memory as the world turns and life goes on. Mr. Fassaert seems to be saying you really can't go home anymore, even as he defiantly records Emilienne's last stand as a way of making sure that, at least, that lost home will be remembered. 

Directed and written by Tom Fassaert; produced by Digna Sinke; music by Tobias Borkert; directors of photography (b&w, processing by Studio L'Équipe, Cinéco), Daniël Bouquet and Diedrik Evers; film editors, Mr. Fassaert, Thabi Mooi, Axel Skovdal Roelofs.
     An SNG Film production/presentation, in co-production with Cinété, with support from the Dutch Film Fund, Mediafonds, Flemish Audiovisual Fund, Omroep Zeeland, VRT-Canvas. (World sales, SNG Film.)
     Screened: DocLisboa 2011 advance screener, Lisbon, October 11th 2011. 

De Engel van Doel | An Angel in Doel (trailer offline version) from Diderik Evers on Vimeo.


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