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Individual seeks community in razor-sharp poetic prose

International Bakery (Formerly Cinema Royale)

David Nolens

A writer in Antwerp walks from his study to the Cinema Royale. There, he discovers that the former adult cinema is now an ‘international bakery’, where people from dozens of different countries bake bread. The bakery appears to be a place where freedom and civil rights prevail. The whole world comes together here. The white author enters into a dialogue with himself and with the bakers, who form a fictitious community of the displaced.

There is really only one way to read ‘International Bakery’ and that is with bated breath.

‘International bakery’ celebrates the music of language, in a new genre that connects narrativity and musicality: a poetic novella or perhaps a poetic polemic, given that ‘International bakery’ is also a distinctly political and contemporary pamphlet, an attack on our individualistic society. The writer examines his own attitude towards solidarity and individualism and plays with prejudices and clichés. The result is a resounding indictment of the city council, which puts profit over community and shows an aversion to newcomers. At the same time, the text is an ode to the ever-changing urban landscape. It is the poetic and multi-layered quest of an individual who seeks to connect with the fluctuating forms of community in a city.

Uncomfortable conclusions alternate with vivid images
Het Parool
A master of suggestion