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Directors of Brussels gang film Black are named Brusselaars of the Year
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, directors of the new gang movie Black, have been named Brusselaars of the Year. The annual award is given to a personality who has attracted attention to Brussels and the Brussels dialect.
Black, which hits cinemas tomorrow, stars Martha Canga Antonio and Aboubakr Bensaihi as young lovers who are part of rival gangs in inner-city Brussels. It is the El Arbi and Fallah’s second film after 2014’s Image, also set in Brussels.
Fallah was born and raised in Vilvoorde, and El Arbi is from Antwerp. The two met while studying film at the Sint-Lukas arts academy in the capital, where both lived during that time – El Arbi in Saint-Josse and Fallah in the Anneessens area.
“Merci Bruxelles,” commented El Arbi on the announcement. “Actually I’m from Antwerp, but in Antwerp they would never choose a Brusselaar as Antwerpenaar of the Year. I feel Belgian and Moroccan, Antwerps and Brussels all at the same time. My brothers were born here, my family is here, so my link with the city is strong. Our films wouldn’t be as cool if they hadn’t been shot in Brussels.”
Despite the award, two cinemas in Brussels are refusing to screen Black, fearing gang violence: Vendôme in Elsene and Le Stockel in Woluwé-Saint-Pierre. The film can be seen in Kinepolis at Heysel.
Previous winners of the Brusselaars of the Year award include cycling legend Eddy Merckx and actor Chris Lomme.
Photo: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directors of Black