Implicitly queer Belgian cinema: Noordzee, Texas (Bavo Defurne, 2011)

Jason Hartford (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This article proposes Noordzee, Texas, a romantic coming-of-age drama, as an implicitly queer film. Noordzee portrays boys falling in love without engaging in gay identity politics, while also queering a working-class and Belgian context through a combination of aesthetic techniques, including language choice. Its queerness lies in its blend of subverting and ignoring various identity discourses — national, formal and sexual. Its production history illustrates the added difficulty of making a queer film in the complex industry environment that is Belgium. First, the article examines Noordzee in its visual and cultural contexts, explaining its mise-en-scène as being recognizably Belgian but also subverting aspects of Belgianness. The film’s approach to the nation mirrors its depiction of homosexuality independent of identity labels, both strategies drawing on innovations in iconography, colour and prettiness. Next, the article discusses the film’s production history against the background of the recent Belgian film industry, with the aim of contextualizing fully the claim that making an implicitly queer film is particularly difficult in an industrial milieu where so many social categories, including language, nationality and sexuality, influence the funding process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-248
    Number of pages18
    JournalStudies in European Cinema
    Issue number3
    Early online date4 Oct 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Belgian
    • queer
    • pretty
    • gay
    • boys
    • iconography


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