"Howdy, Padnah! World Wide Video?"
"Si, Seńor. Et n'oubliez pas Cannes."

(May 2003)

  • It's the 100th Anniversary of the Western. The West Will Rise Again! That is, if the Netherlands Filmmuseum has anything to say about it. Screening a scala of examples, this festival, which takes place at the Netherlands Filmmuseum between May 8th and July 2nd, will show the rise, the high-point, and the fall of this genre. It was in 1903 that Edwin S. Porter (1870-1941) directed "The Great Train Robbery", a film which is considered by film historians to be the very first western film of its type. Although this genre is rarely seen in the cinema nowadays, the effect of visual and narrative conventions institued by the western are still to be found in our culture through their effect upon music, dance, fashion, political cartoons, and, yes, even other cinematic forms.

    Guest programmer Nanna Verhoeff has arranged six programs dealing with both curious and fascinating examples of the western dating from 1896 to 1915. Although the great majority of these conserved films and film clips belong to the Netherlands Filmmuseum collection, most have never been screened for the public previously in Holland. Interestingly enough, many westerns were made in Europe as well as in the United States. A fascinating view of the earliest cinematic forms of this genre is also available in Verhoeff's recently published book "After the Beginning: Westerns Before 1915". Even those who believe they know the western inside out may be in for a few surprises. Many, it would seem, have filled gaping holes in their knowledge about the genre with wrongly slanted personal reflections upon the western and its historical development. Never jump the gun.

    Many of the classics date from the forties and fifties, during the high point of the Hollywood studio system. Films like "Stagecoach" (1939) and "High Noon" (1952) clearly define historical setting, plots and iconography of the western which have had a lasting effect upon our image of the Wild West until this very day.

    Budd Boetticher (1916-2001), on the other hand, is to the western what Cecilia Sisson was to the talking movie. An ex-boxer, football player, and matador, this Mr. Machismo made a series of B-westerns between 1956 and 1960 that may not have rivaled the movies of Ford or Hawks, but proved sufficiently impressive to draw the attention of Grover Crisp, vice president of Film Restoration at Sony Pictures. Five of Buddy's recently restored films will be included in the festival. Mr. Crisp will also be giving a lecture about the restoration of these projects on June 5th.

    The various westerns being screened have been clustered into categories for easier analysis (these divisions can also be found in Miss Verhoeff's book). They are listed under the titles of Early Westerns (silents from the period between 1896 and 1914), Classics (including John Ford's "Stagecoach", Fred Zinneman's "High Noon", Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West", and George Roy Hill's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), Singing Cowboys (including films with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers belting out such memorable standards as "Gaucho Serenade" and "The West Is in My Soul"), Requiem for the Wild West (including the director's cut of Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch", Richard Brooks' "The Professionals", and Don Siegel's "The Shootist"), and Westerns Without Borderlines (including Kurosawa's "Yojimbo", Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff", and Peter Hyam's "Capricorn One"). All information available at www.filmmuseum.nl.

    The grand opening of "100 jaar Western" ("100 Years of Westerns") takes place on Wednesay, May 7th in the Filmmuseum Cinerama with a screening of "The Great Train Robbery" and (a spanking new copy of) John Huston's magnificent 1961 film "The Misfits". There will also be further screenings of "The Misfits" during the coming weeks (so there's no excuse for missing it) as well as Gail Levin's fascinating documentary "The Making of the Misfits" which was released in 2002.

    Well, what else can one say, but "yipee-ki-yo-ki-yeah!"

  • Spanish film will be enjoying a series of screenings at the first annual "Semana de Cine Espańol" starting on Thursday, the 1st of May until Wednesday, the 14th at the Melkweg Cinema near the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. (Ay, caramba! Esta dos semanos!) In recent years the Spanish cinema, which previously captured the attention of an extensive audience due to the works of such directors as Buńuel and Saura, has been enjoying a revival in interest because of recent developments and new filmmakers. Last year alone, more than one hundred and fifty new Spanish films appeared on the screens. Pedro Almodóvar's smash hit "Hable con Ella" reined in a host of awards last year, including the Oscar® for best script. The Melkweg began screening new Spanish films in May of 2001 with Alejandro Amenábar's "Abre Los Ojos" and the upcoming festival hopes to create further impetus by encouraging interest in this genre.

    Ten recent films will be on offer during "the week". On Friday the 9th, Saturday, the 10th and Sunday the 11th of May, director Ramón Salazar will be a guest of the festival, will be present for the screening of his debut as a director "Piedras". Other films to be screened at the festival include: Fernando León de Aranoa's "Los Lunes al Sol" ("Mondays in the Sun"), Emilio Martínez Lázaro's "El Otro Lado de la Cama" ("The Other Side of the Bed"), Daniela Fejerman's and Inés Paris' "A Mi Madre le Gustan Las Mujeres" ("My Mother Likes Women"), Agustín Villaronga's, Isaac-Pierre Racine's, and Lydia Zimmermann's "Aro Tolbukhin, en la Mente del Asesino" ("Aro Tolbukhin, in the Mind of a Killer"), Mónica Laguna's ("Juego de Luna" ("Luna's Game"), Pedro Almodňvar's "Hable con Ella" ("Talk to her"), Carlos Saura's "Salome" ("Salome"), Bigas Luna's "Son de Mar" ("The sound of the sea"), and Gonzalo López-Gallego's "Nomads" (Nomads). Most films have English subtitles (exceptions being "Son de Mar", "Juego de Luna" "Hable con Ella" and "Salome", which are subtitled in Dutch). The event is being organized by the "Instituto Cervantes de Paises Bajos" ("Cervantes Institute of the Netherlands") in collaboration with the Melkweg Cinema. Further information about the festival is available at: www.melkweg.nl/pro_cine.htm.

  • DocuZone, the program of documentary films regularly screened at the Rialto Cinema in Amsterdam (as well as at select cinemas throughout Holland) will be offering the following films throughout the month: Wim Wender's delightful and inspiring "Buena Vista Social Club", Alexis Kouros' en Kari Tervo's "Without my Daughter", a paternal response to Betty Mahmoody's story and best-selling novel "Not Without my Daughter", and Knut Erik Jensen's choral portrait of Norwegian hymns and whistling winds "Cool & Crazy". Further information available at www.docuzone.nl.

  • The twentieth anniversary edition of the World Wide Video Festival will open its doors on the evening of May 8th. On this special occasion, the dynamic center will be the large, glass-walled PTA (Passenger Terminal Amsterdam) building on the waterfront. The entire annual media art event will take place this year from May 8th through May 25th.

    Director of the festival Tom van Vliet, has, in collaboration with curator Remco Vlaanderen (as well as several guest curators), chosen a wide selection of installations that were originally initiated, developed or co-produced by World Wide and presented at previous editions for a return on this special occasion. This main part of the exhibition is meant to provide a survey of the development of media art during the past 20 years. Included are installations by Juan Downey (Chili/USA), Gustzáv Hámos (Hungary/Germany), Tony Oursler (USA), Komiko Kushiyama (Japan), Jiangwei Wang (China), Minnette Vári (South Africa), Nalini Malani (India), Francesc Torres (Spain/USA), Rita Myers (USA), Keith Piper (GB), Anne Quirijnen, An-Marie Lambrechts & Peter Missotten (Belgium), Francisco Ruiz de Infante (Spain/France) and Jem Cohen (USA). The festival also presents the world premičre of "Vumbuludéo" by Marie-France Giraudon & Emmanuel Avenel (France/Canada) with intoxicating and poetic images which refer to the permanent darkness of the polar winter.

    Special attention will be paid to new productions by young artists from Latin America. In collaboration with Hivos, WW has offered these artists a chance to develop new work and present it at the festival. At the invitation of the World Wide Video Festival, Brazilian artist Éder Santos has also produced two new works. In his hometown Belo Horizonte he has worked on "The Encyclopedia of Ignorance", an installation about the experience of 'mortal' sins - vanity, jealousy, vice, remorse, laziness and sloppiness - and the intense emotions they evoke. As 'artist in residence' Santos has been working in Amsterdam between March and May of this year to produce the poetic video essay "Neptune's Choice". In this work Santos explores his experiences in cosmopolitan Amsterdam, analyzing the rhythm and the daily routine of the city from the point of view of a foreigner and outsider.

    In the Atlas Group Project by Lebanese artist Walid Ra'ad, documents and photographs from the war in Lebanon (1975-1990) play a crucial part. Considering performance an important element in his work, Ra'ad will be present to personally add his artistic expression within the piece. A most singular look at Arab visual culture is presented in the exhibition. "Mapping Sitting", which Ra'ad compiled in cooperation with visual artist Akram Zaatari, consists of a large collection of portrait photographs that were taken in Arab territories, dating from the early 20th century until 1950. On 10 May, at 20.00 hrs, Ra'ad will give a lecture/performance in the PTA's auditorium, following screenings of his videotapes "Hostage: The Bachar tapes" and "The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs". (These two works can also be viewed in the World Wide Media Lounge throughout the festival period.)

    Irish artist Willie Doherty's work (exhibited in De Appel gallery in Amsterdam) reveals close links to his native town of Derry, which, following events of Bloody Sunday in 1972, has spent more than 30 years in the throes of a religious-political conflict creating a permanent state of war.

    During the soft, summer evenings, a tree standing across from the Filmmuseum in the Vondelpark will display a large circular screen with a video projection. During the daytime of May 10th, at the same location, a soundtrack will be heard of film extracts from the history of cinema that are related to the tree's age. "Day For Night III" (2003), only on 10 May in the Vondelpark.

    In collaboration with the Melkweg, Electronation and the Dutch Institute for Media Art a DJ/VJ festival will take place on 22, 23 and 24 May, with live performances by national and international acts.

    During your spare time, you can also relax in the World Wide Media Lounge, beautifully located at the top-front-wave-glass-panorama window of the PTA, where a large selection of recent, international single-screen works (videotapes, net-art, CD-ROMs) is available, alongside works by some of the artists in the retrospective exhibition. And, at the "Meet the Artist" space downstairs, audiences will be able to come into closer contact with the artists during a series of lectures, interviews and introductions that discuss the works, their context, and the creators' motivations. Most of the single-screen works available in the Media Lounge will also be presented on the large screen in the PTA's auditorium downstairs, often with the artist present.

    Locations for the festival include: Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) (Piet Heinkade 27), Dutch Institute for Media Art (Keizersgracht 264), De Appel (Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10), Melkweg (Lijnbaansgracht 234a ). The free festival brochure has been available since April 14th, but all information is also online, naturally, at www.wwvf.nl.

  • Henk Kleinman's 1933 melodramatic film "Zeemansvrouwen" ("Sailor's Wives"), based on the play by Herman Bouber, has been such a success during the intial screenings of the new version at the Filmmuseum Biennial that it will enjoy a prolonged run at the Filmmuseum Cinerama and is also planned for screenings throughout the country during the coming months. Originally intended as the first Dutch sound film, this production, unfortunately, wound up in the history books as the last Dutch silent film due to technical and financial problems encountered at the time. Anno 2003, famed composer and musician Henny Vrienten has written a score and a number of notable actors, such as Nelly Frijda, Jeroen Krabbe, and Huib Broos, have lent their voices to assist in making the film become the movie it was originally intended to be. The assistance of deaf persons, especially adept at lip-reading, was called upon in order to reconstruct what the original actors were saying in the film. Based upon this crucial information, Lodewijk de Boer was able to write a scenario making use of the missing dialogue.

  • The Hague Film and Video Festival is proud to announce the first installment of its semi-annual " see[h]ear 2003 #1" expanded cinema program. It will be running from May 6th through May 17th at the Haags Filmhuis in halls 1 and 5. Featuring three first-time collaborations between film- and video-makers with sound artists/musicians to create audiovisual installations exploring the grey zone between the senses of seeing light and hearing sound. Recalling the earliest days of pre-film where screening was the performance, the performers and installation artists have been given the chore of integrating two perceptual elements in a live setting so as to tell a story by creating an environment or constructing a playground for the senses.

    The expanded cinema performances are experiments by artists working on and across perceptual boundaries. In the months preceding their collaboration they have been asked to develop a new and unique method of working together, the results of which will be displayed at "see[h]ear 2003 #1". The Dutch multi-media performance groups Labdog and Alfa Blue will transform the traditional screening hall into a complex web of movement and sound accompanying the multiple super 8 projections of Jaap Pieters in "Silence is Sexy".

    Audiovisual installations by three of Western Europe's most engaging installation artists can be viewed in hall 6 of the Film huis Den Haag from Friday May 4 until Saturday, May 17. Live performances will take place in the hall 5 on Friday May 16, for which the hall opens at 8 pm and the performances begin at 9 pm. Complete program schedules as well as biographies of the artists and further information available at: www.dhfvf.nl.

  • Extra! Extra! Read all about it >> Having enjoyed a roaring success both with "Kruimeltje" and "Pietje Bell", Shooting Star Filmcompany has almost completed shooting on "Pietje Bell 2: De Jacht op de Tsarenkroon". Director/scriptwriter Maria Peters combined several of the adventure books containing this young rapscallion for her first film, but felt the need to let him loose once again in a sequel. Young Quentin Schram will seen again in the title role with such Dutch notables beside him as Fedja van Huet, Arjan Ederveen, Angela Groothuizen, Willem Nijholt, Rik Engelkes, and John Kraaykamp Jr..

  • Mischa Alexander, scriptwriter of such Dutch box-office successes as "Volle Maan" and "All Stars" has another scenario scheduled for shooting. "Feestje!", directed by Ruud van Hemert and starring Antonie Kamerling, begins principle photography on July 15th and is planned for release on February 2004. It tells the story of two men who take a mutual oath to enjoy an endless life of one night stands, but this plan reaches a premature end when one unexpectedly falls in love and decides to get married and the other plans, in response, to become the best man from hell.

  • The latest addition (Nr. 43) to the collection of books falling under "Het Nederlands Scenario" ("The Netherlands Scenario") is the script for "Van God Los" which was given its presentation on the evening of April 26th at the Ketelhuis Cinema (with a midnight screening of Pieter Kuijper's film following the presentation). Those present for the ceremony included producer Reinier Selen, actor Egbert Jan Weeber en scriptwriter Paul Jan Nelissen www.hetnederlandsscenario.com/43.htm.

  • Holland once again has a two-for-one cinema ticket offer from June 2nd through 15th whenever ticket purchase is accompanied by an Albert Heijn coupon, available each time a purchase of 25 Euro or more is made in one of the AH supermarkets. Albert Heijn and Procter & Gamble, as well as the film and cinema business, have joined together to make this offer possible. Films being screened are handily listed inside the free film magazine "Preview" available at cinemas. This offer, which is taking place for the third year, is partially credited for the two million attendance at cinemas nationwide in the month of June last year, a month which usually is noted for having the lowest attendance during the year. Of course, it didn't do any damage on Albert Heijn's sales records during the month of June either.

  • Warm weather returning at last and, of course, it's time for Cannes. Walk upon that wonderful carpet and let the viewers get a gander. Sit on the juries and sip a cocktail. And, when the time allows, go see a movie. Mark the dates in your organizer. That's the Cannes Film Festival from May 14 -25. And for those who aren't aware of it yet, the main office has a new address. You can check all the details at: www.festival-cannes.com.

  • May 30th is the deadline for submissions to "Ecocinema", the annual film festival devoted to ecological cinema, which takes place in September. First organized in 2001 on the island of Zakynthos, seat of the first National Marine Park in Greece, one of the festival's immediate aims to to create a network of professionals whose interests are aimed toward a better ecological system and in furthering the development of an improved commercial department that can deal with these issues. Further information available at www.ecocinema.gr.

  • By the way, talking of changing the world >> It's the 1st of May and that means the "X2" arrives . I could be standing near you right now. Take a good look. I'm green, not blue. Perhaps you will have to change your point of view to recognize me. Keep on evolving yourself!

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett