The Chapel, the new film by Dominique Deruddere

The Chapel is the tenth film by Belgian director Dominique Deruddere. It tells the fictional story of 23-year-old virtuoso pianist Jennifer Rogiers, who takes part in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Together with the eleven other finalists, she is traditionally secluded in the Music Chapel, without any contact with the outside world, in order to prepare her final performance. Her dream seems to come true, but before the first note is played, dark clouds gather.

The Chapel delves into the psychology of this troubled pianist and exposes the scars of a past that is never far away, with memories that can sometimes serve as fuel to diligently pursue an ambition, or can be disruptive and paralysing.

An independent production

The film, starring Taeke Nicolaï, Ruth Becquart and Kevin Janssens, has premiered on Friday 27 January at the Ostend Film Festival and is released in Belgian theaters on 8 February. It was filmed with the setting of the Competition and the Music Chapel in mind, but was produced independently of both music institutions.

What is the Music Chapel?

One of the main trademarks of the Queen Elisabeth Competition is the preparation of an unpublished concerto by the twelve finalists of the instrumental sessions (violin, piano and cello). Without outside help, they study the work, which has been specially composed for the occasion, in one week. For this reason, they go into seclusion in the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, a training center of artistic excellence with an international scope and reputation.

Warm and convivial despite the tension of the ordeal, the Chapel usually leaves an indelible impression on the finalists. Lukáš Vondráček explains : "I loved my time at the Chapel. Above all the evenings with a glass of whiskey which we sneaked in and the camaraderie among the finalists. Artists need time away from ‘civilisation’ to be alone with their thoughts and draw inspiration from silence and nature. That is one of the reasons I loved the Chapel and its peaceful environment."
and Victor Julien-Laferrière : "I dreaded the contrast, the radical change in a form of routine and the lack of control of my environment. But I appreciated being without a phone and measuring this particular form of empathy that is revealed between candidates facing the same challenges."

This year's Competition is dedicated to the voice, so there will be no isolation at the Chapel for the finalists this time, because there is no imposed work in the final of the Voice Competition.


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