So, why Bruges? The first of two main reasons is that Bruges is a world-renowned center of lace-making. I mean real lace. Not machine-made, not crochet, not tatting. Lace. I wanted to see it being made because it’s a rare and specialized skill that takes years and years of practice to perfect.
That’s not what this blog post is about. The other reason I wanted to go there is that after seeing the movie In Bruges, I was captivated by the architecture of the city, some of which I’ve shown in my previous post, and I wanted to see some of the film sites for myself.
If you’ve never seen the movie In Bruges, do. It’s excellently acted, directed and filmed. The story is extremely well written, intriguing, touching in its odd way and very often funny.
It wasn’t my intention to track down every single film location – and I didn’t. The idea was a lark, not a mission and, if while seeking out any particular site, I happened to be distracted by something else interesting, by all means, I’d take off and explore (FYI – I have learned since my visit there that the tourism office has a map for all the In Bruges film sites. Go figure).
But first, in order to refresh my memory as to the film locations, I re-watched In Bruges in Bruges (god, I’ve been dying to say that).
So, in some semblance of order, here we go….
(and, by the way, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to do so before reading this. In other words – Spoiler alert!).
This little church (in the corner at bottom, center) is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. It’s where Ken took Ray to “see a vial of Jesus’ blood” much to Ray’s irritation. I didn’t go in partly because it cost money to do so and partly because it’s not where the scene was actually shot. I guess filming is not allowed in that church so the scene was shot here:
This is Jerusalem Church, built in 1428.
Here is the courtyard you’ll see as you enter from the street…
…and here is the interior where the scene was shot.
The following few pictures take you up the staircase at the left and back down the staircase at the right.
This main part of the chapel was much darker in the movie.
Here are a couple architectural details and a rather pissed-off looking cherub.
This low-ceilinged room reminded me of the church I visited in Wimborne, England.
There was an unusual art exhibit going on. Here are a couple of the pieces.
And last, but not least, a lovely stained glass window.
It was a little way off the road. Following the sign, I still thought I was going the wrong way.
I thought maybe I was walking through someone’s private property.
But, I did finally find the museum. I’ll show you the paintings Ken and Ray were viewing and a few more that caught my eye.
This is “The Flaying of the Corrupt Judge Sisamnes” by Gerard David.
“Death and the Miser” by Jan Provoost.
And here is “Last Judgement” by Hieronymus Bosch.
The museum was nearly empty when I was there, but then it was early December so no longer high season. I was able to get quite close to take these following few pictures.
Such an incredibly innovative and unique (not to mention disturbing) painting.
Hard to turn your eyes away, isn’t it?!
Whew! So, those were the paintings in the movie. Here are a few more I’d like to share.
I found these hairstyles to be rather, er, impressive.
I wish this painting could be seen here on my blog the way I saw it at the museum. It’s named “The Calling of Matthew” by Jacob Van Oost I. It was so interesting to study all the different faces. You could imagine Mom off to the left calling Matthew and various other family members looking at him, looking off to Mom, looking at each other, wondering why she was calling. Even the dog was curious! Anyway, that’s how it captured me. I really enjoyed studying it and imagining what was going on here.
Here are two close-ups of a couple religious paintings. I loved the detail of the fabrics. There are a lot of religious paintings at the museum. I tend to lean toward more modern art. Maybe it’s the age in which I grew up, I don’t know. I do appreciate the skill and beauty of style of religious art but I can barely stomach the subject matter anymore. It’s just so depressing and gory and bloody and sad. No, thanks.
“Invention of the Art of Drawing” by Joseph-Benoît Suvée. Cave paintings? What cave paintings?
“The Farm Animals” by Marcel Broodthaers…. ’cause ya gotta keep yer cows in order.
So, there we have Groeninge Museum. Now off to the park.
The gazebo from which Ken watched Ray….
…..and the playground Ray sat and gazed upon whilst contemplating his future. This is Koningen Astridpark (Queen Astrid Park). The bench he sat on wasn’t there. I guess it was placed just for the movie. Believe me, if the bench was there, I would’ve sat on it. I did, however, stand on the gazebo pretending to be Ken spying on Ray. Oy, I’m such a geek.
Now, the bell tower.
Ah, yes, the bell tower.
You remember, of course, the difficulty with which Ken climbed the stairs. No exaggeration, that. They are steep and narrow. Here I’m looking down.
And here I’m looking up.
I (and a number of other people, from what I overheard) wondered if it would be possible to make it to the top. Not only are you breathlessly trudging up, but people are coming down and you must squeeze past each other with only a rope to hold onto.
Not shown in the movie (as far as I can recall), but still interesting are the clarion and bells and whoa, buddy, are they loud! The clarion consists of 47 bells, 26 of which were cast by Georgius Dumery between 1742 and 1748. The remaining bells were cast by Koninklijke Eijsbouts in 2010. The bourdon (which is the bell having the lowest pitch) weighs 5 tons. Altogether, the bells weigh 27 tons. While I was at the top, the bells played their hourly song. Though I had to cram my fingers into my ears, it sounded beautiful!
Here is the lovely view.
Sliding my camera lens through the grate I was able to get a clearer picture.
I was so glad for the clear weather.
Below is Market Square – the center of town.
Here’s a part of it at ground level.
Looking into a sort of a central courtyard at the base of the bell tower….
….and looking up to where I’d just been.
While strolling around this area, I heard the most haunting, ethereal music. I thought maybe it was recorded but it turned out to be this guy…
I wasn’t so sure he wanted his picture taken, but he was playing in public and I did tip him, so….
I do love bagpipes and he played so beautifully.
Next, you’ll recognize this as one of the places where Ray was being chased by Harry.
I wasn’t even looking for it at the time and just stumbled upon it! It’s called the Vismarkt (Fish Market).
This is the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel. It is where Ray and Ken stayed and where Ray jumped from one of the windows onto a canal boat. I’ve read it’s probably the most photographed place in all of Bruges.
Following are photos taken at Gruuthuse Museum.
First this night shot which, again if I remember correctly, was in the film.
The courtyard of Gruuthuse Museum was where the film within the film was being shot. You know, that sort of crazy final scene where the film set was?
Unfortunately, the courtyard was being repaired while I was there, so I couldn’t walk in. Plus, it was a muddy mess. But here are a few shots looking up and around.
That’s it for specific locations. But I have a few more….
There are so many statues and carvings around the city. There was quite a bit of religious imagery in the movie and I’ll share here some of what I found.
Having the goal of finding these In Bruges sites was just part of the fun I had in Bruges. I got lost a million times and there was always something new and unexpected to see. It really is a delightful place….
….it’s like a fuckin’ fairytale.