The belgitude things

La belgitude des choses

Photo: Planet +
The French are madly Belgian! In any case, this is what advances the filmmakers Marc Ball and Gilles Dal in the documentary series “Topos”.

It is known, we like to make fun of smaller than oneself. Since the second half of the Nineteenth century, the French took pleasure in turning the Belgian into ridicule. It was during the industrial revolution, that of the Belgian unemployed came to try their luck in the mines of northern France while the miners were on strike. Poorly educated, not very wealthy, little accustomed to the manners the French, these first immigrants were quick to embody in the collective imagination of the French, the redneck uncouth.

Unfortunately, for the natives of the country of Tintin and the Smurfs, this image their colla for a very long time to the skin. However, with the popularity of the Dardenne brothers, filmmakers double webbed d’or for Rosetta (1999) and The child (2005), Cécile de France, who entrusted the animation of the César in 2014, Yolande Moreau, César for best actress and best first film for When the sea rises… (2004), Benoît Poelvoorde, rewarded in Cannes for the Prize of the youth for It happened near you (1992), François Damiens, especially seen in the great success of The family Aries (2014), and Stromae, that some compare to Brel, the wind has finally turned.

Yes, the French are madly Belgian ! In any case, this is what advances the filmmakers Marc Ball and Gilles Dal in the seventh episode of the second season of the documentary series Topos. To better celebrate this craze patiently earned, Planet + this episode I love the Belgian on the day of their national feast.

The pride of being a small

It is Baudelaire who would turn in his grave if he was a witness to this infatuation of the French for their neighbours to the north. “All the Belgians, without exception, have the skull empty,” wrote the outrageous poet during his stay in Belgium, where he tried in vain to find a publisher, between 1864 and 1866. As he was so ruthless in his manuscript Poor Belgium !, the author of the Fleurs du mal would not have prized the mentality of the Belgians, or their beer, or their women, or their policy.

A century later, a popular French comedian gave the flavor of the day jokes of the Belgians, the equivalent of our old jokes about newfies, those that are told, taking a big emphasis — which has little to do with the Belgians — and punctuating the expression ” once “.

“Then we were in a car, is not it, and then we drove to Calais, and then all of a sudden… That is what we see written across the road ? “Pas-de-Calais”. Ben I said : “They are exaggerating, huh ! Once… they would have said, me, I will not come !” “, launched the late Coluche at the end of his famous number, The Belgian, in 1979.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridges since the death of Coluche in 1986. Several heads of poster of the French cinema are Belgians, we are tearing out the artists and intellectuals of the belgians on the trays of French tv, where, like Aymeric Caron , It isn’t lying, it repeats until “thirst” I love the Belgians “. This, after decades of ridicule and scorn, décontenance a little, when it does annoys not completely, as the fact know François Damiens, who can guess a certain condescension : “We are proud to say “I have a belgian friend”, as they said in time “I have a black friend”. “

What we retain from this episode, which is full of a playful tone while making a judgment sometimes hard on the French, it is only through this love for the Belgians, the “arrogant cocks” of the Hexagon, with nostalgic memories of the days when France was a great nation, to express what they envy. That is to say, to be “proud to be small” and find their strength in their modesty, and all of this, never caring for themselves the opinions of their neighbors.

Five series of the belgians to discover

La belgitude des choses

Tv a belgian getting rare on our small screen, we can however rely on Netflix for us to discover a little of its essence.

People of Tomorrow, Ilse Copert (2014). In July 2014, ten young men and women from the four corners of the world have won a pass to the electronic music festival Tomorrowland, in Boom, in the province of Antwerp.

The truce, Matthieu Donck and Stéphane Bergmans (2016). Proven by the death of his wife, the ex-policeman Yoann Peeters (Yoann Blanc) and returned to live in his native village with his daughter Camille (Sophie Breyer). Having taken up service for the local police, he unearths dark secrets from the community while investigating the mysterious death of a young footballer.

Hotel Nice Stay, Bert Van Dael, Kaar Beels, Nathalie Basteyns and Sanne Nuyens (2017). To wake her up, in a room of the hotel a Nice Stay, Kato (Lynn Van Royen) has no memory of the events that occurred the day before. Then, she discovered her own body bloody in a bathtub. Invisible to the eyes of his own, then tries to elucidate his murder.

Tabula Rasa, Malin-Sarah Gozin, and Veerie Baetens (2017). Amnesic, Annemie Of Haeze (Veerie Baetens) receives regular visits from the inspector Jacques Wolkers (Gene Bervoets.) to the psychiatric hospital where she is interned. According to the investigator, it would be the last person to have seen Thomas de Geest (Jeroen Perceval) before its disappearance. While she delves into his memories, Annemie is haunted by terrifying visions.

Undercover, Nico Moolenaar (2018). Flowing of quiet days in his villa at the belgian-Dutch border, Ferry Bouman (Frank Lammers), a large producer Dutch ecstasy, may see a fate switch when two secret agents, belgian, Bob Lemmens (Tom Waes) and Kim Rouij (Anna Drijver), trying to infiltrate his network.


A previous version of this article, which reported that Baudelaire had stayed in Belgium between 1964 and 1966, has been corrected.

I love the Belgians. Topos, this is the time that wants it, season 2

Planet +, Saturday, 21 h