Tuškanac Cinema / Thursday, 18 May / 6 pm

The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Who Lived for Twenty and Eight Years All Alone on an Inhabited Island and Said It Was His / Het leven en de vreemde verrassende avonturen van Robinson Crusoe die acht en twintig jaar helemaal alleen op een bewoond eiland leefde en zei dat het van hem was

Belgium, 2023, 75'
Director: Benjamin Deboosere · Screenplay: Benjamin Deboosere · Photography: Hans Bruch Jr. · Editing: Benjamin Deboosere · Production: Sarah Deboosere - Untitled Production · Cast: Oriana Mangala Ikomo Wanga, Bernice Leming, Blanche Pembe

An anarchist satire, Robinson Crusoe uses righteous anger to deconstrue imperialist ideology and the cultural myth about a white man who lived for 28 years all alone on an island, “civilised” local inhabitants, and claimed it his own property. Deboosere’s cinematic intervention into the 1719 classic adventure novel by Daniel Defoe takes part in the all-encompassing quest for decolonisation of our minds and bodies, broaching the topic of cultural heritage that still feeds the unhealthy myth about the white man’s burden and its civilisational mission among backward savages and cannibals (performed by Yeelen Dance Company), and showing it in a different light. This unusually charming and subversively jovial film employs iconoclastic humour and 16-mm camera as powerful political weapons. Its story wanders in all directions, wherever momentary inspiration takes it, accompanied by music that mocks pompous military orchestrations. On the other side of the historical farce and illusions of the Anthropocene, the film dedicates its brief respites to flora and fauna of the “uninhabited” island, followed by a choir of contemplative goats sharing their anecdotes. Deboosere spares no one, coming down on all kinds of religious and secular authorities hiding behind platitudes about law and order. For the role of Robinson, Deboosere cast a charismatic Belgian singer and performer Oriana Ikomo, but, instead of making a film adaptation, he confronted the story that charmed him as a child, and upset him as an adult. (DP)

Awards and festivals: 

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR, 2023) – world premiere

Benjamin Deboosere (1984) makes socio-political films using a playful approach. His film works have been screened at various international film festivals, including Tallinn Black Nights (BNFF), Message to man, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Africadoc Bénin, Mecal Pro Barcelona, Brussels Art Film Festival and Achtung Berlin. His first short film Of Not Such Great Importance (2019) won the Kryzstof Szot award at Lublin Film Festival, the Jury and Audience awards at Ongezien Kort 2020, as well as Best Short Film Award at the 2020 Working Title Film Festival. Robinson Crusoe is his first feature-length film.