Les Souffrances d’un oeuf meurtri

© Les Souffrances d’un oeuf meurtri (Roland Lethem, 1967)

Les Souffrances d’un oeuf meurtri

Belgian Roland Lethem’s early work is heavily influenced by surrealists (Buñuel) and  Japanese cinema (Seijun Suzuki, Yoko Ono). Later, his films became increasingly political and also ecologically charged, although certain cruelty and pornography are never far away. Full of irrational images and diverse forms of symbolism, Lethem’s films seem to float between waking and sleeping states.

Les Souffrances d’un oeuf meurtri, voiced by Chantal Akerman, is a textbook example of unadulterated Belgian underground cinema. The four-part surrealist saga includes filming the decaying body of a girl through a bright green colour filter. The final image shows her vagina crawling with maggots and covered with a crucifix—for Lethem, a symbol of how Catholicism prevents the free expression of desire.

The film precedes Chantal Akerman’s Portrait d'une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles (1994).

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