FILMS

 

Private hotel Thierry Michel

Six convicts, locked up since long or for long. Six characters, six prisoners seen openly, invited to become, too, actors of the movie, in both senses of the word : actors of their own lived, played, fictionned reality.
Around them, a prison, all doors locked. Latticed windows, banged doors, spy-holes. The dark cell, the yard, the chapel, the cell. The warden, the doctor, the priest. 
Six prisoners face to face with the imprisonment. What they have done, what they will do. Their speech: off-voices, dialogue, silence. The hopes deceived, the laughter sometimes, the shouting often, in this place woven with suffering and mockery, with human warmth and dream, in such a complex and often inevitably absurd place. 
To kilt time, to wait. The letters opened by : others before being read. The saturday visit, two hours. And finally the holiday, the everyday clothes, the wife waiting.
Six characters in search of existence in this in camera where, silently, life and death, escape and suicide as only alternative to nothingness and the loss of oneself; confront. 
Six men locked up without any mask, without cheating, staging their own reality, exasperated by, or for, the camera, in a movie where reality meets imagination, document meets narration as a part of an actual reality.
Réalisation / directed by Thierry MICHEL & Fabienne RENARD
Scénario/script Thierry MICHEL, Fabienne RENARD & Christine PIREAUX
Direction photo/photography Salvatore ALLEGRO
Prise de vue / camera Thierry MICHEL
Prise de son / sound Dominique W ARNIER 
Mixage/mixing Charles MARIQUE
Montage / editoring Adriana MOREIRA & Marie France COLLARD
Musique originale/music Francis DANLOY
Direction de production Marc MINON & Jean-Paul TREFOIS
Producteur exécutif / executive producer Christine PIREAUX
Production Les Films de la Passerelle, RTBF, VIDEO GRAPHIE, CANAL EMPLOI, MEDIAFORM PROD, WALLONIE IMAGE PRODUCTION
Avec l'aide du Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique
Long métrage - vidéo 3/4 B.V.V. - Durée 90 et 55 minutes – couleur
Thierry Michel was born on October 13, 1952, in Charleroi, Belgium, an area known as "The Black Country". At 16 he studied cinema at the Institut des Arts et Diffusion in Brussels where he came back to teach cinema. He experienced the last tremors before the students' upheavals which was to be the prelude to political enrolment in the militant and lyrical movements of the time. In 1973, he began to work as a filmmaker at the Belgian Television and realized numerous programmes all over the world. He dedicates his first films "Pays Noir, Pays Rouge" and "Chronique des saisons d'Acier" to the coal basin of his youth and his first fiction feature length "Hiver 60" tells of the insurrectional strikes of 1960.

He alternated documentaries and fiction and managed to bring a camera inside a prison's walls to film "Private Hotel", a poignant hymn to liberty at the heart of confinement. After a long quest for his identity and his regional and political origins, Thierry Michel explored other continents and other dreams. The result was his second feature lenth film "Emergency exit", a poetical and mystical work set in the heart of the Moroccan desert which had always attracted him.

He then came back to reality with two very moving pictures, "Kids from Rio" and "From the grass roots" which depicted the street urchins and the favelas of heart-rending Brazil. This was to be his first encounter with the black culture which he studied in-depth in Zaire with "Zaire, the cycle of the serpent", a many award winning film which ruthlessly portrays the ruling class and the rejects of Zaire society.

He made a brief return to Belgium and filmed a Minister at the centre of a political and criminal scandal which has upset all of Belgium: "La grâce perdue d'Alain Van der Biest"; following this he packed his bags once more to investigate the validity of international armed charity with "Aid for Somalia : a losing battle".

A few months later, he sets off for Zaire to shoot "The last colonials" a film on the colonial heritage and the presence of white people and white culture in the country after years of independence. A few days after his arrival, he is arrested, imprisoned and expelled from the country. His equipment is seized, and he finishes his film thanks to his own archives and images from the preliminary shooting. 

He directs "Post-colonial nostalgia", a film on the historical relationship between the Zairian people and white colons during the years of Congo/Zaire's independence. He then sets off for Africa once more, this time to shoot a major work, "Donka, x-ray of an African hospital". This tragic, human and uncompromising portrait of the Conakry hospital in Guinea will win prestigious awards both in Europe and in the United States. 

Thierry Michel pursues his work in the wake of his African experience: following the fall of the Zairian dictator, he starts shooting a historical documentary, somewhat reminiscent of great Shakespearean tragedies: "Mobutu, king of Zaire".

After ten years and seven films made in Africa he goes back to Asia and the Republic of Iran, one of the cradles of Islamic fundamentalism. There he made his latest film "Iran, veiled appearances" in which he paints a portrait of a society that is socially and culturally split. The eye of the film-maker captures the religious fervour of some which contrasts so violently with the desire for freedom of others. After having been selected in major festivals, Thierry Michel has again gleaned numerous international distinctions. 

He then went up the Congo River and once again traveled through Africa’s history, its memory and destiny. "Congo River" is a personal journey to the source and the origin of this country and with it he pursued his quest for light and darkness, being driven by the desire to plunge into the mystery and the depths of the Congolese equatorial forest and its majestic river.

Thierry Michel has an insatiable curiosity and has, for the last twenty years, not stopped filming all the beloved faced that inhabit the "sublime reality" of his camera. "The themes are the same, where you are. Man is the same, whether here or there; life and death are perceived identically. I have yet to stop working".
Mention au Festival de Nyon (Suisse)
26/05/1986 90' RTBF1 10H03 BELGIQUE
10/02/1987 50' BRT 1 21h04 PAYS BAS
10/02/1987 50' BRT 1 21h04 BELGIQUE
2/02/1991 58' FR3 15H30 FRANCE
5/02/1991 58' LA 7 15H19 FRANCE
29/01/1991 58' LA 7 20h05 FRANCE
2/02/1991 59' FR3 15h30 PAYS BAS
2/02/1991 59' FR3 15H30 BELGIQUE
2/02/1991 59' FR3 15H30 FRANCE
2/02/1991 60' CHFR3 15h30 SUISSE
5/02/1991 58' LA 7 15h19 FRANCE