Jean Harlez (Belgium, 1924) has been described by some as “the savage of Belgian cinema”. This son of a blacksmith is an autodidact in the margins of professional circles. He entered the film world in 1947 as an assistant to Charles Dekeukeleire and worked for many years as a cameraman for Marcel Broodthaers. After a period of unemployment, Harlez built his own 35mm camera and, without any financial support, made a short film about an agricultural cooperative. A hit, because the Ministry of Agriculture bought the film. The money he received enabled him to make his big dream come true: “to shoot a real feature film”. Le chantier des gosses is the result of this adventure. The press reacted enthusiastically to this debut film in a new genre: “the first Belgian neo-realist full-length film!” Jean Harlez is a versatile artist: short films, films of his voyages of discovery to Greenland, and in recent years he has mainly made life-size collages (“assemblages”).
The Marolles is a playground for kids until one day workmen shake up the neighbourhood. The children declare war on them. A film about Brussels in the 1950s, in collaboration with the inhabitants.