Sunday 25 February 2018

Not in Bruges – Belgian mayor's crackdown on shooting film

Colin Farrell who played inept assassin Ray in the film 'In Bruges'
Colin Farrell who played inept assassin Ray in the film 'In Bruges'

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson

Mayor Renaat Landuyt could well have had Colin Farrell's inept assassin Ray in mind when he decided that the medieval city of Bruges should be a little more discerning about how it is portrayed on celluloid.

"Bruges is a s**t-hole," Ray declares in the 2008 black comedy 'In Bruges', which ends in blood-splattered mayhem in one of the city's picturesque Gothic squares.

The film brought legions of fans to the Belgian city, best known for its canals, lace shops and medieval town-houses; they have been followed by many other production teams keen to turn their cameras on the chocolate-box version of Old Europe. But Mr Landuyt is concerned that the boom in shoots in Bruges may not be in the best interests of his city.

"If we want to protect the quality of life and the quality of the Bruges trademark, then we need to be stricter than in the past," he was quoted as saying.

"We must accept that Bruges is an exclusive trademark. They used to say: 'Bruges is a museum.' We have to be careful it doesn't become: 'Bruges is a film studio.'"

The Flemish daily, 'De Standaard', reported that the city had already turned down requests from TV shows, with Mr Landuyt declaring that unless strict criteria were put in place, "Bruges would be on television every day". Exactly which films and TV shows will be deemed "exclusive" enough to meet Bruges' standards remains unclear.

'In Bruges', meanwhile, remains a firm favourite for visitors. Despite the city representing something of a purgatory for Colin Farrell's Ray, as the character grappled with the guilt of a contract killing gone wrong, Bruges emerges as one of the stars of the film. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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