For Jan Vromman, it has been a difficult decision between studying History or film directing. Today, he dedicates himself to documentary filmmaking and he often treats subjects that require research, point of view and historical insight. Documentaries such as Zolang er scheepsbouwers zingen (1999), De kunst van het boomhakken (1993), Le petit jeune homme de Binche (1992) and De geschiedenis van het varken (in ons) (2017) bear witness to this. Nevertheless, his documentary practice is multimedial and transversal. Curiosity also drove him to theatre, socio-artistic projects, installations and even works of fiction. An essayistic and language-centered approach is a key part of many of his works. Complicity and emotion shouldn’t interfere with insight and analysis. Jan Vromman also holds a doctorate in the arts.
With the last ship launched from the Boel shipyard in Temse, the construction of seagoing vessels in Belgium came to an end. This three-part documentary chronicles an industry and the social struggle of its workers.
1995: company lock-out, the death knell of the shipyard is rung. This emotionally charged diagnosis sharply contrasts with the story of the company’s growth and prosperity.
These are the wonder years! A just and righteous world is within reach. The class-conscious worker not only stands up for his rights against his employer, there are also tensions with the official trade union big shots.
Virtually bankrupt, then really bankrupt, occupation, bankrupt again, second occupation, liquidation, the last ships… When giving an account of this process of dying, questions on “labour and future” emerge.