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What’s on this week: 18-24 October

11:22 17/10/2019
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

Nature and wildlife are an abiding subject for the documentary genre, and, with sea life more threatened than ever by the growing plastic soup, the Ocean Film Festival has its finger on the pulse. The nomadic event sells out in cities across Belgium every year, pulling in fans of both the sea and cinema. The carefully curated short films are always educational but also extraordinarily beautiful as they introduce us to creatures strange and awe-inspiring. Even human beings get to be onscreen sometimes, sharing their adventures both above and below the surface. 24 October to 6 December, across Belgium

Want to escape the domination of the “like” button? So do the seven international artists whose work makes up Open Skies, an exhibition dedicated to transparency, privacy and freedom. Until 5 January, Wiels, Avenue Van Volxem 354 (Forest)

The Filem’on festival of cinema for children and young people is great fun, with more than 100 films, workshops and special guests spread across four locations. Many movies are highly enjoyable for adults, as well, such as Une Colonie, a coming-of-age story in small-town Canada, or Where We Belong, a touching documentary about children navigating the sometimes harsh terrain in the wake of their parents’ separation. 23 October to 2 November, across Brussels

Festival des Libertés

To provide an overview of the state of rights and freedoms around the world, to identify current threats, to encourage resistance and to promote solidarity are the ambitious goals of Théâter National’s annual Festival des Libertés. Some highlights of the multi-disciplinary programme are a performance by French rapper Abd Al Malik that combines contemporary art, dance, theatre and music; Belgian singer Alice Dutoit, otherwise known as Alice on the Roof; and a mock trial staged by the Human Rights League. 17-26 October, across Brussels

English Comedy Brussels puts on a good show this week, hosting Eleanor Tiernan, known not only for her clever stand-up but for television writing and producing and playing Dolores on the hit comedy programme Bridget and Eamon. Opening is British comic Prince Abdi. 22 October 20.00, Théâtre Marni, Rue de Vergnies 25 (Ixelles)

Should professional dress be all about the latest fashion? Brussels Imagination Club hosts the workshop Dress with Impact, in which both men and women can learn how they communicate with the world via their clothes and assess if they need to change the message. 23 October 18.45-21.00, Timesmore, Boulevard St Michel 47 (Etterbeek)

Art on Paper

Once seen as a simple precursor to another form of art, especially painting, drawing has come into its own as a fully fledged genre of contemporary art. Cultural centres and galleries combine their forces to curate the international fair Art on Paper, where you can browse and buy to your heart’s content. This year sees the launch of the larger Brussels Drawing Week, seeing venues across the capital getting in on the act with dedicated shows, talks, guided tours and workshops. Art on Paper: 24-27 October, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23; Drawing Week: 22-27 October, across Brussels

It’s the final week for Generation Cinema, a side-line event of the House of European History’s exhibition Restless Youth. On the bill this week is Home, the most recent movie by Belgian director Fien Troch. It’s a tense study of a juvenile delinquent trying to stay on the straight and narrow. Troch will be present at the event, which also includes a talk by the cinema programme’s curator, a guided tour of the exhibition and a drink. The film is in Dutch with English subtitles, and the rest of the programme is in English. 23 October 18.00-21.30, Rue Belliard 135

Following the chilling Vader (Father) and the tragic Moeder (Mother), Brussels-based dance/theatre company Peeping Tom completes the English-language trilogy about memory and the search for connection with Kind (Child). Played from the perspective of the child, the piece envelopes us in a surreal universe littered by sombre fairy tales and magic. 17-25 October, KVS, Quai aux Pierres de Taille 7

Didier Comès


Didier Comès authored some of the most striking comic albums and graphic novels of post-war Belgium. His work went from minutely detailed reality to total abstraction and told stories with a good amount of fantasy and dream sequences. The exhibition Didier Comès: Ardennes Inking, in multiple languages, includes his work as well as the inspirations, personal experiences, historical references and encounters that guided his hand. Until 5 January, Stavelot Abbey, Cour de l’Abbaye 1, Stavelot (Liège province)

Hasselt is known as the jenever capital of Belgium, and its big annual bash celebrating the liquor is this weekend. Jenever Feesten includes opportunities to taste and buy endless varieties, tours of the Jenever Museum a Jenever Village with bites based on the liquor and much, much more. 19-20 October, across Hasselt

Sign up for the Taste of Leuven guided tour this weekend to get to know this charming little city a bit better. See the sights, hear about the history and taste four local products to boot. 19 October 14.00-17.00

Written by Lisa Bradshaw