The Evil Eye

Based on a theme by Flemish playwright Herman Teirlinck, The Evil Eye is a story of a peasant village haunted by a villager rejected by society now returned to take his revenge and find his beloved. From a documentary and visual point of view, it is a rich and powerful work which reveals the heart of the Flemish countryside, its landscapes and ancient rituals and customs. Though the film has a characteristic peasant slow pace, the purity of its images and its unique camerawork place it beside the most memorable Russian films. Like Eisenstein and Dovzenko, Dekeukeleire chose local, non-professional actors both as principal characters and extras. However, so deeply rooted in the spirit of a large segment of the Flemish population was a fear of magic, he had a difficult time recruiting actors for the film once the subject matter was known.

“An atmosphere of anxiety envelopes the first perfect images of The Evil Eye: the burning windmill, the animals, seemingly possessed by evil moving in the dark, the peasants crossing themselves to dispel evil. The whole thing is a beautiful prologue to tragedy.” -René Micha

Program Notes Translated by Angela Zawadski.

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