There are markers in a city which are pathways to its unconscious. Each exists invisible until revealed by the attentive and curious. Together these markers are a tableau of the city's true self. The story of its soul.
As the film progresses, markers are revealed - statues, buildings, signs, graffiti, murals, parks, architecture, illusions - and we are led inextricably back to the 19th century and to King Leopold II's personal estate, the Congo. And see the foundations of the city's wealth, banks, and modern society built on the blood of the 10 million Africans who died in slave labour for Leopold's personal gain.
Joseph Conrad called Brussels - for this is the city - a whited sepulchre. Our film looks into its unconscious and into its soul, and sees the darkness at its heart.
It is the story of the nexus between power and money; the depiction of women, and how this has hardly changed in 150 years; the city as brothel, where lives are bought and sold; whole districts demolished to build a cheap imitation of Manhattan; the legacy of colonialism and the terrible human cost of prosperity and modernity; and how all these things have left the city morally bankrupt, its heart and soul a waste land.
The 27-minute film is composed of a prologue, epilogue and nine chapters, each with its distinct visual and musical identity. It is an impressionistic mix of still and video images, trompe-l'oeil montages, archive quotes from the 18th to the 21st centuries, and four symbolic characters threading their way through the narratives of the city. The 15 musical pieces used are an integral part of the impression and as important as the images. There is no dialogue, except, perhaps, with the dead, silent.