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Colour, 2K, Stereo (5.1)

Dutch and French spoken

English subtitles

Duration: 26’

In Spilliaert, filmmaker Lisa Spilliaert inquires into her blood relationship with the renowned Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946). Is she predestined to an artist’s life by this kinship, which may or may not be fictional? Is artistry genetically transferred?

She reveals herself as a rapping, fanatical genealogist who probes into the origins of her artistic identity.


Lisa Spilliaert visits archives and museums, painting a picture of the hopeless search for documents and clues concerning her origins. She eventually ends up in the middle of her genealogical fantasies, represented in a ceramic sculptural family tree designed and made by her sister Clara. In Ostend’s Centre for Geneology, the protagonist tries to substantiate her claim of kinship with certificates and registers.


Spilliaert specialist Anne Adriaens-Pannier briefly introduces the historical figure of Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946) and his life in Ostend, his particular personality, his special relationship with the city of Ostend and the sea, his artistry and, of course, his outstanding oeuvre.


A descendant of Léon Spilliaert, who chooses to remain anonymous, relates his memories and his personal relationship to the oeuvre of his great-grandfather. Once again, the question arises of the difference between real memories and retrospectively constructed meaning.


Spilliaert's narrative structure is strung together by a number of rap poems, performed by the Lisa Spilliaert. By choosing this form, she uncovers parallels and contrasts between rap music’s free identity construction and the strictly regulated structure of genealogy.


All these strands culminate in a strange encounter between Lisa and Léon Spilliaert, during which the absurdity of the desires projected onto the past is undermined.

The film has been screened or exhibited at:


  • World première: FIDMarseille (FR), 6, 8 en 10 July 2022

  • Actoral Festival (FR), Sept 2022

  • Filmfestival Oostende (BE), Jan 2023

  • Courtisane Festival Ghent (BE), 30 March 2023

  • De Cinema Antwerp (BE), 14 May 2023

  • 37th Image Forum Festival (JP), 30 Sep > 6 Oct (Tokyo), 17 > 19 Nov (Kyoto), 23 > 26 Nov (Nagoya) 2023

  • Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin - Video Library (FR), 31 Oct > 5 Nov 2023

Credits :

Production: Escautville

Co-produced by: Animal Tank


  • With the support of:

This production was realized with the support of the Tax Shelter measure of the Belgian Federal Government through Flanders Tax Shelter


Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)

City of Ostend, LUCA School of Arts, City of Ghent, Brakke Grond, Jos Jamar Gallery

  • Screenplay: Lisa Spilliaert

  •  Starring:

Lisa Spilliaert as Rapper

Wim De Busser as Léon Spilliaert

Genealogists: Bernard Legrand & Freddy Courtens

Art Historian: Anne Adriaens-Pannier

Works of Léon Spilliaert

Family Tree Sculptures by Clara Spilliaert

And the voice of an anonymous descendant


  • Production:

Camera, Gaffer, Cinematography: Hans Bruch Jr.

Camera assistants, second en extra cameras: Diren Agbaba, Rosa Maria Galguera Ortega, Bob Mees

Periscope Camera: Ruben Appeltans

Sound: Laszlo Umbreit

Interpretor French-Dutch: Sis Matthé

Make-Up, Hair: Lili Dang-Vu

Styling: Sietske Van Aerde

Driver: Stefaan Galle

Assistants: Rhana Dewaelssche, Emmelie Martens, Clara Spilliaert


  • Post-production:

Editing: Lisa Spilliaert, Vincent Stroep

Editing Advisors: Wim Catrysse, Inneke Van Waeyenberghe

Translation: Sis Matthé

Copy Editing: Trevor Perri

French Transcription: Rita Habib

French Translation: Anne Vanderschueren

Keying: Elias Heuninck

Colour Grading: Loup Brenta

Sound Design: senstudio

Title Design: Oliver Ibsen


  • Raps:

Composer, Coaching, Ghostwriter: Benjamin Hertoghs

Consultants and Lyrics Opening Rap: Jan Matthé, Sis Matthé 

  • 'Spilliaert' is acquired by the Flemish government and part of the collection of Mu.ZEE (Oostende).


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