In Kluis (L'Enclos, Enclosure)
Jan Gruyaert's first feature centers around the perceptual world of a deaf-mute groundskeeper living in the ruins of a medieval chateau. Absorbed by his sense of sight, the guard relieves the solitude of his days by exploring the surrounding countryside through a telescope. Across the river lives a painter, obsessed with privacy, and his model. When the artist rudely spurns the watchman's neighborly overtures, the latter returns to the tower. He watches as the artist's efforts to fortify himself against intrusions of the outside world reach paranoid, maniacal proportions. Even at a distance, the guard grows increasingly sensitized to the model's humiliation and mounting anxiety as she finds herself part of this barricaded cocoon. The tension finally breaks in a series of climactic events, but in the end a deaf and dumb man still watches the high, barbed enclosures constructed by a man who has command of all his senses.
“Film today is a doctrine, it manipulates the spectator, a contrived reaction is imposed. Man must submit himself to the film without being able to use his imagination. He remains passive and inactive. He must watch ‘fabricated' situations from the most impossible, ‘idealized' angles; he must understand subjects and themes which are pronounced (in hushed tones) one hundred yards away.
“In opposition to all this, my experiences have taught me that the better I am able to circle in on very limited (genuine) visual and auditory perceptions of man, the better the spectator will be able to identify himself with that which is recounted or represented.” -Jan Gruyaert
Program note and translation by L.A.T.