This city serves as the set for big blockbusters and for small productions, for Belgian and international films. These are Brussels' starring roles.
Take 1: Dikkenek
There’s no better place to start than with the most famous and quirky of Brussels films: Dikkenek. The roundabout, the expansive view of Brussels from Place Poelaert as well as the Palais de Justice slap you in the face for a good couple of minutes. Even if you don’t quite get the humor of this film, you get that it’s in Brussels.
Lights, camera, action
The best known Hollywood movie with a Brussels background is The Expatriate (other title: Erased). Plenty of landmarks are recognizable throughout the course of the movie. The trailor gives us a taste. Sweeping aerial shots feature the European district, and the action-packed plot takes us through the Royal Galleries. See if you can spot the Gare du Nord (North Train Station) (0:48), the Bourse metro station (2:13), the Grand Place (1:16), and La Rotonde Brasserie near the Parc Royale (2:09). Side note: at 1:35, you will see the pretty stone staircase at Antwerp's Central Station.
Maybe you have seen Man Bites Dog (C’est arrivé près de chez vous), the satiric and hilarious tale of a serial killer. There is also Meryl Streep’s Plenty, Les Barons, and The Sexual Life of the Belgians. The list goes on and includes many movies from the 1970s and 80s, like Jacques Brel’s Far-West and Home Sweet Home, Toute une nuit (All Night Long), and Brussels by Night
Soon to come is Grace of Monaco, a new Nicole Kidman movie partly filmed in Brussels. It seems the Parliament building will be visible. We will have to see in March 2014.
For those of you familiar with Belgian television, Top Chef set up their kitchen on the rickety cobblestones of the Cinquantenaire for an episode that airs February 24th, 2014. If you're interested in more films and series with Brussels as the backdrop, this might entertain you for a while.