News & Events

STADSSALONSURBAINS: Maria Tarantino - Our City (film and discussion)

7 October 2016 , 17.30-19.30h, Beursschouwburg, rue Auguste Ortsstraat 20-28, 1000 Brussels

Our City has been a five-year-long adventure, a boundless exploration, a struggle for clarity, a love affair with complexity, a reconciliation with one’s demons, a free field for experimentation, an exercise in provoca- tion, a tentative fairy tale, a large chunk of life shared with a great many people who gave us time and attention and allowed us an entry into their world.

The film moves like an endless horizontal gaze, from one situation to the next, on the strength of an association of ideas or a visual texture. Sometimes it’s the poet and taxi driver Koresh Garegani who drives vie- wers from one place to the next; sometimes it’s the children playing in the city. We are constantly traversing space and contemplating a wide array of situations that exist within the same city but are seldom thought of as making up a whole. Speaking about cultural diversity without taking into consideration the political and economic forces that underlie and in- fluence it makes no sense.

Our City is the portrait of a metropolis that belongs to everyone, a ‘city of foreigners’ that affirms itself more loudly here than elsewhere. Brus- sels is a multifaceted mirage. In its ambiguous profile, expats and im- migrants, commuters and asylum-seekers, all see the promise of a private happiness. We often say that Brussels does not have a strong identity like Paris or London. That’s because Brussels is alive, because it still breathes, because it is ‘in the making’.

Our City is a film about a city under construction. On its horizon you can see the profile of the cranes and the skeletons of new towers. But what is the human construction that we are putting into place?

Maria Tarantino, April 2015



Maria Tarantino (b. 1972, Milan) graduated in philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and then went on to do research at KU Leuven, the University of Wuppertal, and Ca’ Foscari in Venice. Her interests centre on phenomenology, a contemporary branch of philosophy that focuses on the structure of the human being and its understanding of the world. After 10 years of academic studies, she decided to explore the world of information and communication. Following an internship at Le Monde Diplomatique in Paris in 2011, she began working as a freelance journalist for Italian and Belgian publications as well as radio and television programmes, writing on politics, culture, cinema, and food (Radio Rai 1, Pure FM, La Premiere, De Morgen, Deng, Et Cetera, Il Manifesto, Diario della Settimana, Slow Food). In 2005 and 2006 Tarantino presented, on Canvas (television), an innovative series of 25 documentaries called De Wereld Van Tarantino. She also made the odd incursion in the area of contemporary art, translating her journalistic work on a different register: een auto die democratie heet…, 2006 (a car called democracy) (audio installation), SAP (Sociaal Autonoom Produkt, 2008), GMOs (Generously Modified Organisms, 2009), a series of free workshops on fermentation), City One Minutes, Chartres, 2012 (24 videos about the city of Chartres). In 2009, Tarantino moved into filmmaking and directed Inside Out, an analysis of power relations inside an Italian prison where a group of inmates create a theatre performance. The film was shown at the London Independent Film Festival, subsequently touring prisons in Belgium and Italy, and a television version was broadcast on BBC World. The following year, Tarantino travelled to Burundi to make Kubita, a self-funded and self-shot film about torture in Burundi’s prisons. Kubita was presented at the festivals in Docville, Parnu, Liege, and Bujumbura, and broadcast on TV5. In the same year, she set up the production house WILDUNDOMESTICATED in Brussels, which produced a medium-length film about the Brussels opera house and a series of short films about Chartres, before delving into the lengthy venture of Our City.