Walkers of St Rolende

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Title card :

Many thanks to the marchers of entre-Sambre-et-Meuse, to their president, Doctor Wauthy, to Professor Joseph Roland and to the fife-player Robert Simon.

The only film among those on Belgian festivities with commentary. The images set the region, the text, the costume and the sad and beautiful story of Rolende, the king’s daughter who, to flee an arranged marriage, ran away and died of exhaustion near an oak tree after having charmed Saint Ogier.

Once a year, her reliquary is paraded and her pious suitor gets to see the bones of his beloved pass in front of his chapel. Once the context is established, the film follows the proceedings, which begin at four o’clock in the morning to the sound of the drums and end, after a 35 km-long journey through fields and communes, with a solemn mass. This event energises the whole town and the fervour of its inhabitants. Men women and children disguise themselves as soldiers of the Empire, fire shots and drink to keep up their courage. Priests parade around the countryside in their black robes and everybody looks very pleased with themselves. Storck excels at capturing little scenes: the false captain so pleased with his temporary importance, the exhaustion of the marchers sweating under their képis, the handing over of the reliquary between carriers. This folkloric event is carried out without tourists and concerns about a dozen villages, involving all social classes: the military, the ecclesiastic, the rural and the social.


Director : Henri Storck assisted by David McNeil

Cameramen : Michel Baudour, Paul De Fru, Michael Sander assisted by Peter Anger, Michel Ognier, Michel De Fru, Michel Houssiau

Sound engineers : Marcel Bertiaux, Alain Pierre

Electricians : Raymond Fromont, Christian Coppin, Jean-Luc Huque

Continuity people : Anne Hislaire and Jean McNeil

Text : Christian Huart, spoken by himself (for the French), and Prosper Verbruggen, spoken by himself (Dutch)

Editing : Alain Marchal assisted by Eva Houdova

Mixing : Roger Defays

Photography : Virginia Leirens

Directors of production : Baudouin Mussche and Pierre Cohen

Production : Films Henri Storck


35mm/colour (Gevacolor)/17’/1970-1974

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