“I am mad, I am foolish, I am nasty” Self-portrait of James Ensor

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The life of the painter James Ensor (1860-1949), related by himself through his work, photos, archive films, his letters, speeches and rants.


The film-maker and ethnologist Luc de Heusch met James Ensor, the famous painter from Ostend, shortly after the war in his house in Ostend, currently called the “Ensor Museum”. James Ensor was 80 years old and was sitting under an enormous painting with bright barbaric colours he had made more than half a century before : “L’Entrée du Christ à Bruxelles” (Christ’s Entry into Brussels).
This movie about James Ensor is not a documentary but a kind of novel movie transported by the intensity of the painter’s works and his passion for language.


1990. 35 mm., colour, 55′.


Director : Luc de Heusch ( with the help of Henri Storck)
Texts : James Ensor
First director assistant : Pierrot de Heusch
Image : Jean-Claude Neckelbrouck
Photography : Michel Baudour
Sound : Jean-Claude Boulanger
Editor: Suzanne Baron
Stage assistant: Marianne Nihon
Music : Denis Pousseur
Sound mixing : Gérard Rousseau
Voice-over: Paul Andrieu (French), Bob de Moor (Dutch) et Richard Wells (English)
Production et Distribution : Simple Production
Coproduction: RTBF, VRT, Arte Belgique etFilms Messages
TV Broadcasters : RTBF, VRT, Arte, Nos, Yle, RTP (Portugal), BBC2and ABS (Australia)
Partners: Nos (Holland), SSR (Switzerland), the French and Dutch Communities of Belgium, La Loterie Nationale and the “Amis d’Ensor”


To buy the film  click here