behold the lamb in the seize the night festival

plukdenacht13-8-13  Behold the lamb

It is one of those ‘different’ festivals, the pluk-de-nacht / seize-the-night festival in  Amsterdam. Close to my home, there is a stone head (stenen hoofd), a former place for ships to stay on the riverside, that is now deserted and, rare in Amsterdam, not being confiscated yet for building houses or offices. This is where alternative activities are organised like the pluk-de-nacht / seize the night festival.

I went there last night and saw an almost incomprehensible Irish movie on the riverside: http://www.plukdenacht.nl/movie/behold-the-lamb-2/. I felt sorry for every human and animal in the movie – none of them were happy, although the humans lived and the animals died so that was not the same fate. And I didn’t get the clue, but possibly my attention was not really focussed because of the river and the boats, the public (a festival well visited!), my lovely companion, or just the cold that is always there as soon as the Netherlands have an outdoor festival…

There were nice food and drinks available (good wine from a sponsoring local company!) and the rental blankets were ok too. All visitors were white – a bit weird in a multicultural town like Amsterdam – and their behaviour was white too: no bother, polite and fun, but no collectivity or togetherness. A festival with its own colours and flavours, in Amsterdam 4 more days to go so I’d say: don’t miss it, go, see and enjoy!

Other documentaries you can read about:
Naziha’s spring
Van Waveren tapes make you shiver
Turkish film festival Kurtulus Son Durak

Lore movie that silences the public

lore-film

Lore movie that silences the public

Last night I saw the Australian/German movie Lore in complete silence. I do not remember that the cinema public did not talk or even cough during a movie, but Lore creates that effect.

5 children from SS-parents have to find their way from the southern Schwarzwald to Hamburg in the North of Germany in the days after Hitler died. Their parents are arrested and nobody wants the children or cares for them.

The country is a mess as Hitler fought untill the very end: the desillusion is complete and everybody is just surviving, often at the cost of others. No safety, no love, even no truth: ‘not knowing’ is one of the themes in the movie.

We interprete the circumstances thought the eyes of maybe 16 years old Lore who was educated in a pro-Hitler family with strong values. Not just the story, also the end of the movie is unique: the message, whatever it is, is significant. Everybody, no exception, left the cinema in silence.

For me, the movie gave a perspective on immediate post-war Germany that I never had before. It was touching, confusing and realistic: it could have happened and it may have… Beautiful camera work turns this into an art movie: breathtaking from the begin untill the very end!

Other documentaries you may like:
Dheepan: an outstanding movie about refugees
Loin des hommes

Kurtulus son durak – Turkish film festival

Kurtulus Son Durak Poster  What a nice movie is Kurtulus son durak! Women living in neighbouring apartments in Kurtulus – Istanbul start to talk about their lives and many unexpected scenes are the result of it. Is this a feminist movie? Turkish newspapers describe it as a commercial movie about empowerment of women. But the movie was made by two men, not by women. Baris Pirhasan wrote it and his son Yusuf directed it. Baris is present at the Turkish film festival in Amsterdam and explains how the movie was created. He is a very interesting man and it is worth to ask him questions.
The movie is very funny but not without a serious tune. Also it has layers and quite some depth; what I liked a lot is the alcoholic guy who is living his own life amidst all the troubles and the adventures of the women. He even helps them at some point, but when the situation becomes very difficult with the police surrounding the appartments and all, he is watching the events happening in the apartments below him at his television. He only comes down to his neighbours in trouble when the police cuts off the electricity as a first step to enter the apartments with force. ‘The television stopped’, he explains while all the women watch his arrival in surprise, and that is just one out of many funny moments.
Baris Pirhasan explained he is using cynicism or black humour as a way to make people laugh and we did; it was a great night with a great movie that is unusual enough not to be just forgotten after the laughter. To be seen in Tuschinsky Amsterdam on Saturday 22-9, 13h and Sunday 23-9, 20.45h. Enjoy!

Other documentaries you might like to read about:
Kedi: movie about cats or humans?
Naziha’s spring (by Gülsah Dogan)
The hunt for my father (also Gülsah Dogan)
Taxi Teheran

Van Waveren Tapes make you shiver…

   Van Waveren Tapes form a strange and highly intriguing documentary. I went to the cinema to see it, just because I read the story of its creation in a newspaper. A guy bought a lot of tapes on one of our famous Dutch flee markets, the Waterloo Plein in Amsterdam, and discovered a life story that played mainly in the years ’70 and ’80. The tapes were made by someone who taped many or maybe all of his phone conversations and who also talked to his tapes just for himself. Who would buy tapes like that? And who would be able to make a movie out of it? A guy like that is 100% original and a great artist!

Like in a detective, the story unfolds step by step. When you watch this documentary, you realize that the scenes are not spoken by actors, but real life conversations. It made me shiver to enter this closely into a personal and rather tragic life. The maker did an extremely good job: this movie keeps your attention until the very last minute… and it makes you think about life in an extraordinary way.

When I tried to reserve cards for the cinema, the girl at the phone told me ‘it is not  necessary because nobody will show up’. Then she corrected herself and said ‘it will not be very busy’. Indeed there appeared to be only nine of us in total. All of us very impressed and very enthusiast. Don’t miss it. This is not the kind of thing you can see every day!

Other documentaries you are probably interested in:
Visages villages: the brilliance of the normal
The hunt for my father
Taxi Teheran

Iron Lady – too soft a movie

Iron Lady is a surprising, rather disappointing movie. Years ago, I read Margaret Thatcher’s biographie. I found it very interesting to read about her own views on what she stood for and how she wanted to achieve her goals. She was one of the first women at the international stage. In the Netherlands, until now, we never even had a female Prime Minister. So Margaret Thatcher is a woman we can learn something from.

In the movie The Iron Lady, however, we learn little about her views; the movie doesn’t even explain or pay any attention to the question how she could achieve at all to become Prime Minister as a woman in an ‘all men’ environment. On the contrary, we see most of the time an old woman who is having memories about her past life in short parts and sketches. She is already confused in a starting dementia, imagining her deceased husband around her most of the time and talking to him, sometimes even thinking that she is still Prime Minister.

In the various scenes about her life we see in the first place a woman who is Prime Minister, rather than a Prime Minister who is a woman. The focus is on her style much more than on her ideas, policies, views. Especially for a Prime Minister who lead a country through many changes, this is a surprising and also disappointing focus.

Research has shown that this treatment is reserved especially for female ministers. Journalists for example ask them two to three times more often about their private life and children than they do to their male colleagues. When they report about women in government positions, they report first of all about their style; however for their male colleagues, the main attention is paid to the content of their politics.

Nobody can say that Meryl Streep did not do a good job, because she was brilliant as ever. But she is not responsible for the script that chose to show one of the most influential Prime Ministers of the 20th century from a vulnerable side that is at least partly based on phantasy of the maker rather than as a strong and powerful person with ideas and the competence to realize them. Let’s hope another, more visionary movie maker will stand up and do the work that the Iron Lady movie has neglected to do.

Other blogs you may like:
Turist and the myth of heroism
Lore movie that silences the public
Simone Veil: une vie