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The Bulletin's anti-Valentine’s guide

14:24 10/02/2015
No hearts, no flowers, just plenty of fun stuff to do on 14 February

Valentine’s Day can lead to a lot of expectations – and this year it’s on a (gasp!) Saturday. We here at The Bulletin understand perfectly well that when the pressure’s on, romance turns off. 

So we’ve come up with a few fun and casual ways to spend this fateful evening, whether or not you’re in the company of someone special. Although they’re not all fraught with hearts and flowers, they do all take place on 14 February.

Hollywood royalty: Some Came Running
How about spending your Valentine’s eve in the company of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine? In the lush 1958 melodrama Some Came Running (pictured), master of stylish staging Vincente Minnelli choreographs Hollywood royalty in a small-town setting “bursting at the seams with the pressures of passion”, as a blurb for the original novel read at the time. This screening at Cinema Galeries is an act of cinephilia by Sabzian, a group of young Brussels filmmakers. Meet them afterwards for a drink around the corner from the cinema. (In English) 20.00, Cinema Galeries, Koninginnegallerij 26, Brussels; reservations recommended at reservation@sabzian.be

Shrouded in secrecy: Mystery Night
The final night of Antwerp’s Kleppers Festival is a big secret, though Het MartHa!tentatief promises it will “have nothing to do with Valentine’s”. Sounds good to us! You’ll have to slap down your €12 to €16 out of pure faith in the Antwerp theatre collective since you don’t get much of a sense of how you’re going to spend the next two hours. The group does promise a performance that you will “talk about for years and look back on later with nostalgia”. Golly. You can finish off your evening right in the same building at Bourla Beats, a big DJ dance party. (In Dutch) 20.00, Bourlaschouwburg, Komedieplaats 18, Antwerp

Persia meets the West: Mohsen Namjoo
Some people have called Iranian singer and setar player Mohsen Namjoo the Iranian Bob Dylan. That’s an insult to both “Bawb” and Namjoo. The latter’s sensual style is a mix of Western folk rock and Persian melodies, combined with lyrics that draw as much inspiration from centuries-old poetry as from every day, modern life. The combination of the two led to Namjoo being sentenced to five years in prison for insulting the Koran in 2009. (He lived, and still lives, abroad and never served them.) Coincidentally or not, the key contrasting emotions in his music – despair and passion – only deepened after this episode. 20.00, Bozar, Ravensteinstraat 23, Brussels

Pain, and more pain: In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love
– it sounds like the perfect flick for a Valentine’s night out. But be warned, if you’re in a relationship, it had better be a strong one. This lavishly designed 2000 film from Hong Kong, with its perpetually slow-moving camera and its heavenly melancholic soundtrack, focuses on two hoodwinked people who could find solace in each other company. That’s right, “could” – because, as this achingly beautiful gem proves, the road to love is paved with traps and pitfalls. (In Cantonese with Dutch & French subtitles) 19.30, Cinematek, Baron Hortastraat 9, Brussels

Passionate poetry: Saint Amour
Every year around Valentine’s Day, Saint Amour, a literary love-fuelled tour sponsored by Behoud de Begeerte, makes its way through Flanders and the Netherlands. This year the focus is on poetry, with, among others, recent Herman De Coninck prize-winner Maud Vanhauwaert and renowned poet and author Stefan Hertmans taking centre stage to read new and unpublished work. Dutch musician Thé Lau and Flemish singer Bert Dockx (of Flying Horseman fame) will add a little music to the mix, while Quan Bui Ngoc and Daisy Ransom Phillips of Les ballets C de la B will majestically dance to Verdi. Head to Ostend on Valentine’s night or catch it on tour elsewhere in Belgium from 11-19 February. (In Dutch) 20.00, De Grote Post, Hendrik Serruyslaan 18A, Ostend

This anti-Valentine’s guide has been brought to you by Rebecca Benoot, Lisa Bradshaw, Bjorn Gabriels and Christophe Verbiest

Written by Bulletin team