Annik Leroy (Belgium, 1952) is a photographer, cinematographer and film director who made her first 16mm films during her studies at the La Cambre art school. Her initial short films, including Le paradis terrestre (1973) and NBC (1974), already contained the seeds of the themes that would later germinate into the leitmotifs of her oeuvre. Leroy’s films make tangible how histories of oppression and injustice continue to haunt the present; how their presence can be perceived not only in the scars in the physical landscape of contemporary Europe, but also find echoes in the countless instances of violence and destruction that slip past us unnoticed. It is these barely perceptible, menacing ‘tremors’ that permeate our everyday lives and interpersonal relationships that resound throughout the films, videos and installations Leroy had made since 1980.
In 1981, Leroy put out her first black-and-white feature film named In der Dämmerstunde Berlin de l’aube à la nuit, which retraces her solitary wanderings through the streets of Berlin, facing the traces of the war and the menace of the Wall. Distributed by the Cinemien Amsterdam collective, the film was shown at the Berlinale Forum and several other festivals. To the Sea (1999) crosses the European continent along the Danube. From wellspring to delta, the film collects the stories of the people living along the river. The film was selected for the Forum des Jungen Films at the Berlin International Film Festival and won several international prizes, including Best Documentary in Ann Arbor. Her feature film Tremor - Es ist immer Krieg (2017) continues her research into the darkest periods of European history in the 20th and 21st centuries through the voices of poets and madmen. The film was selected for competition at FID Marseille and many international festivals. It won the best film award at the Brazilian Goiâna festival.
Annik Leroy taught Narrative Art at ERG (Ecole de Recherche Graphique, Brussels) until 2017 and Documentary and Experimental film at LUCA School of Arts Sint-Lukas, Brussels. In 2018, Leroy was ‘artist in focus’ at the Courtisane Festival in Ghent. Retrospectives of her work have been held in London, Leipzig, Vienna and Lussas.
An experimental documentary made up of the voices haunting it: voices of poets and madmen, of a mother and a child. We look at places hard to situate with certainty, places where omens of violence are palpable and scars remain visible.
Leroy’s black-and-white images travel along the banks of the Danube, recounting the history of a disintegrated and devastated Eastern Europe. A film that oscillates between a poetic dream and a historical travelogue.
Leroy’s first feature film resonates as a poetic rumination, a melancholy declaration of love which takes the form of a dialogue with a Berlin lost to memory.