20 min • Documentary • Short • Belgium • French, Dutch • 2024 Post production phase

A portrait of the diverse and opposing communities that share the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Brussels. 

The National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Brussels, Belgium, is home to a number of opposing and  unexpected residents: a chapel with eternal worship, a concierge who lives underneath the church, a caving club, a radio station and a restaurant with cabaret shows.

Director, Producer • Philippe van der Loo 
Editor • Luca Zuberbühler, Philippe van der Loo 
Drone & Gimbal operator • Andrés Gómez Lencina 
Director of Photography 
• Philippe van der Loo 
Camera • Brian den Hartog, Tuur Logghe, Stefan van Diest, Andrés Gómez Lencina 
Sound Recording • Joost Janssens, Philippe van der Loo 
Composer • Alexandre Delaygue
Color Grader • Ilton Kabassa do Rosario
Production Company

Director’s statement: 
In my view, the Basilica represents the very city it’s in: Brussels. It’s l
ike a microcosm of the city. Full of surprises and strange contrasts. The fact that it started out as a megalomaniac project from a King with delusions of grandeur, and ended up as a church with cabaret shows in it’s basement, is to me Brussels pur sang. 

At the time of the start of construction, in the early 20th century, the Catholic Church was still very present and powerful in Belgium. Because construction took so long (two World Wars) by the time it was finished in the 70’s, the secularization was already in full swing. A brand new, enormous Basilica, in a country that was having fewer and fewer believers. 

The Basilica is also strongly connected to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the beginning,  construction was financed by profits from the horrorific exploitation of the Congo Free State. Which was King Leopold’s private property. Today, most churchgoers are from Congolese descent. 

On the contrary to many other churches, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a living and breathing place with a unique and authentic character.