Born in 1944 in a Jewish family, Boris Lehman creates images of his own obsessions, sometimes related to his Jewish origins. As co-scenarist, assistant or actor he has collaborated with several filmmakers in Belgium, including Chantal Akerman, Samy Szlingerbaum and Henri Storck. Retrospectives of his own work have been presented in a number of countries. However, his films are not readily separable from his life in Belgium and, of course, from the artistic and popular life of Brussels. Not only does Boris Lehman produce and direct all his films, but he prefers to screen them himself, sometimes in the living room of his audience. He is the professional of the “home made”. He makes films about things close to him. But his approach, while poetical, absurd and ironic, is also close to the ethnological. His sometimes very intimate personal sequences can also turn towards broader issues about Western Europe and attempts to understand the Other and the meaning of life.
Boris Lehman’s films show the influence of his art philosophical commitments. His attitude to time does not betray any stress: the film Babel: Letter to my friends who stayed in Belgium is 25-30 hours long (composed by 9 films from 1983 to 2021). One can say that he has turned his life into a film, as the films have become his life. This explains why his filmography amounts to hundreds of works, some of them films edited for a single screening only. He is close to Jonas Mekas’ way of considering cinema, preferring to see the cineast as an artist based in daily life.
© Boris Lehman