For our first event of 2019, we are showing 16mm films. We’ll go r-r-roaring into the new year with the camera and the projector as discoverer and creator of worlds.

JEAN PAINLEVÉ — FR, 1934 – 16MM — 14’

JEAN PAINLEVÉ — FR, 1967 – 16MM — 14’

BEN RIVERS — UK, 2008 – 16MM — 16’

18/01 20:00 Vrijstaat O Oostende

Jean Painlevé, the French photographer-filmmaker-scientist-inventor, made about 200 films over a period of 60 years on a wide range of topics, such as bats, pigeons or astronomy, but he was mainly specialized in underwater fauna. As founder of the first amateur diving club in Europe, he made film portraits of sea urchins, shrimps, jellyfish and crabs, among other things. A mysterious world, which until then was unknown to the general public, floated ‘to the surface’ and was projected for the first time in cinemas. Painlevé approached this world not as a biologist but as an astronaut, who reports to earth on this newly discovered, strange planet—where the beings sometimes show striking similarities with people on earth. With great fascination, he highlights the erotic, comical and wild side of underwater creatures.

L’Hippocampe, his film about seahorses, is still his most famous work. The film caused a great scandal in its time because of the openness with which Painlevé looks at the sexuality of the animals. Les Amours de la Pieuvre is also an erotic story: the octopus, the viewer, the camera, the lens, the filmmaker are all together in a confined space, where everyone keeps searching for the other.

Next, we’ll show Origin of the Species by the British film director Ben Rivers. The film offers an intimate portrait of S., a striking figure who lives in a secluded spot in a forest and has read Darwin’s famous work The Origin of the Species for twenty years. He’s a nutty professor who investigates and tries to define the world using Darwin’s theories. Rivers, in turn, subjects the film to an experimental process in which the sound is released from the image. The main character, S.; the filmmaker, Rivers; and you, the spectator: everyone is busy searching for and giving meaning to things, creating a world of their own.

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Artistic coordination: Anouk De Clercq, Godart Bakkers
General coordination: Ditte Claus
Artistic team: Eric de Kuyper, Xavier Garcia Bardon
Production team: Bob Mees, Jef Declercq, Johan Opstaele, Noah Heylen
Communication: Cynthia Vandenbruaene
Graphic design: Michaël Bussaer. Webdesign: Dominique Callewaert.

With the support of Auguste Orts, CINEMATEK, KAAP, KASK School of Arts Gent, Onderzoeksfonds Universiteit Gent, Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds.

Whoever walks in Ostend today is confronted with a fantastic eclecticism: a brutal grey apartment block exists next to the glorious Thermae Palace. The mighty, almost Stalinist, building of De Grote Post dominates the Hendrik Serruyslaan. A former department store houses a museum for contemporary art. Belle-époque houses are hidden in the quiet but stately streets.

In 2017, one void struck artist Anouk De Clercq: that glorious film culture of Henri Storck, James Ensor or Raoul Servais had disappeared from the streets. With the closure of the Rialto cinema, the last independent cinema from the Ostend cinema circuit also disappeared. Against such an extraordinary backdrop, with the sea as a large projection surface for images, stories and histories, that is such a shame.

And so the idea of Monokino ripens: one room, marked by an equally fantastic eclecticism, where cinema can be itself again. One room where long and short films, film classics, auteur cinema, video art, experimental films, animation, or the work of young makers can find a place. Monokino shows, questions, responds, engages in conversation, invites, welcomes, puts in perspective. Monokino is a place of, by and for people from Ostend, for professionals and enthusiasts, for young and old, for those from here and those from there.

The films that Monokino wants to show don’t only live on the screen. They also spread between residents, spectators, and makers. In that sense, Monokino is also Kopfkino: a mental cinema, where images get the chance to live and multiply.

That’s how Monokino drifts nomadically through those eclectic streets of Ostend and settles in the heads and hearts of the people of Ostend. Soon it’ll moor for good.

Monokino wants to drive cinema into the 21st century and illuminate the adventurous side of film. While we strive for a permanent place as anchorage for cinefiles from Ostend and beyond, Monokino operates as a nomadic film platform.

The sea is Monokino’s favourite projection surface for images, stories and histories. In anticipation of our next screening, we’ve started to collect a list of films in which the sea plays a main or supporting role. Can you think of a film that’s not already on our list? We’d love to hear about it via

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