Since Film-Plateau started in 1997 the Communication Sciences department of the Faculty Political and Social Sciences got intensely involved with the programming of the successful university film club in Ghent. First it was run by Prof. Els De Bens and later on by Prof. Daniël Biltereyst. The department uses the possibilities of Film-Plateau to illustrate the existing film courses with authentic film images. Together with the other members of Film-Plateau’s programming crew the department wants to show a very wide range of movies in their original state.
Film classics are at the core of the programming. From a pedagogic point of view it’s necessary to offer the students the possibility to watch the so-called 'canon' of film history in optimal circumstances. Classical films out of sheer necessity also imply American movies and the complete Hollywood system. In Film-Plateau we offer a critical exploration of this canon’s margins. In our programming we give a lot of attention to author cinema from Europe, Asia and other continents, while we regularly show work from older and more recent avant-garde like movies from Bunuel and Cocteau, the film and video work from Greenaway or from younger movie makers.
In this broad approach there’s of course also a place for the silent movie. Therefore the film club gratefully works together with the unsurpassed Royal Film Archive. It remains a huge task to rouse a contemporary, even film-loving audience’s interest for a soundless (although accompanied by piano music) film. But the magnificent presentation of movies like 'Cabiria' (1914), 'Ben Hur' (1925) and 'La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc' (1927) strengthens our conviction that we cannot ignore the first thirty years of the movie history.
In the Ghent movie scene Film-Plateau is gradually taking in a very special place. It’s not only a familiar place for classic and author movies. It’s also a place of reception and reflection on the history of film and broader, on the social role of the current image culture. This role clearly comes forward through the direct bond with the International Flanders Film Festival in Ghent and with the documentary film festival Viewpoint, that each year ends up in Film-Plateau for their (more difficult) film retrospectives.
This also goes hand in hand with a lot of debates, interviews and lectures. The last few years there were interesting lectures on film genres, on the film noir and (late 2002) on the development of news in film and television. These lectures have a profound academic nature and there’s a great striving for circulation and distribution of recent original scientific research.