Belgium, cradle of industrialization on the European continent and home of chocolate, beer, and cartoons, is now on the verge of breaking apart. Join us this year as we explore its two primary cultural areas and the issues that separate them.


Language and Political Conflict.
Is multilingualism tearing Belgium apart? Or is it something else? The course examines the ways in which language is related to political conflict, using examples from around the French-speaking world, and particularly Belgium. FREN 410; taught in French, fall 2011.

The Linguistic Communities of Belgium

La Musique Belge. — Thomas Field, UMBC.
From the masterpieces of Jacques Brel to today’s death rap, the many forms of music that have emerged from the country that invented the saxophone.
Monday, February 13, 12:00 p.m., IMC.


Why You Should Be Intersted in Belgium.Thomas Field, UMBC.
Introduction to the art, food, music, film, and politics of Belgium and a presentation of the year’s events.
Monday, September 19, 12:00 p.m. UC 310.

The Political Situation in Belgium: End of a Nation?Bernard Geenen, Embassy of Belgium.
Belgium has not been able to form an executive government for over a year. Will the nation continue to exist? Would everyone do just as well if the two halves were independent?
Wednesday, October 19, 4:30 p.m. Library 7th floor.

René Magritte: Painting the Unknown. Nicoleta Bazgan, UMBC.
A film, presentation, and discussion on the Belgian master of surrealism.
Monday, March 5, 12:00 p.m., IMC.

Brussels: Grand Place/ Grote Markt



Demonstration in favor of Flemish independence


Daens (Stijn Coninx, 1994)
In the Flanders of the late 19th century, Adolf Daens, a priest, has to struggle with his Church hierarchy when he decides that he must fight for better working conditions for the poor. One of the best historical films from Belgium.
In Flemish and French, with English subtitles.
Wednesday, October 5, 4:30 p.m. University Center 310

Ma Vie en Rose / My Life in Pink (Alain Berliner, 1997)
Ludovic is a small boy who cross-dresses and plans to marry another boy. He can’t understand why his family and neighbors are worried. An extraordinary consideration of gender issues from a child’s perspective.
In French, with English subtitles.
Thursday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. ACIV 003.

Le Fils / The Son (Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002)
A carpentry teacher at a vocational school in Liège refuses to take on a new student but then follows the boy obsessively. Nothing in this film is predictable, as it moves from tragedy to redemption.
In French, with English subtitles.
Tuesday, November 8, 7:00 p.m. Meyerhoff 030.

Belgian Film Festival

Toto le Héros (Jaco van Dormael , 1991).
Envy, revenge, and imagination from childhood to old age. A quirky, surprising masterpiece.
In French.
Wednesday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. IMC.

Ben X (Nic Balthazar, 2007).
Ben, who suffers from Asperger’s disorder, is constantly bullied and lives his life through video games.
In Flemish.
Tuesday, February 21, 7:00 p.m. Meyerhoff 030.

Eldorado (Bouli Lanners, 2008).
One of the oddest films you’ll ever see; it includes an epic road trip across… Belgium.
In French.
Thursday, March 1, 7:00 p.m. ACIV 003.

Loft (Erik Van Looy , 2008).
Your only chance to see this Flemish thriller about infidelity and death, since an American remake is imminent.
In Flemish.
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 p.m. Meyerhoff 030.

Quand la mer monte / When the Sea Rises (Yolande Moreau, Gilles Porte, 2004).
A lonely woman on tour with a one-woman show meets a needy young audience member, and an odd, bittersweet romance ensues.
In French.
Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 p.m. Meyerhoff 030.

Either Rundskop / Bullhead (Michael R. Roskam, 2011)
The latest Flemish thriller, set in the world of the meat business.
In Flemish and French.

Aanrijding in Moscou / Moscow, Belgium (Christophe Van Rompaey, 2008).
A woman in mid-life takes a chance on a truck driver.
In Flemish and French.
Thursday, April 12, 7:00 p.m. ITE 102.


A Belgian Dinner for French Majors
An evening of food, music, and conversation and a chance to taste a variety of Belgian dishes.
Monday, September 26, 5:30 p.m. UC 310.