Big Green Boys and Little Demons

(July 2003)

  • "The Hulk" has arrived! So big, so Green, so mean!!! Based upon the popular Marvel Comics character, the film took in \$62,6 million at the box offices in the States during its opening weekend. This makes it the biggest June opening ever, breaking the previous record held by "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999). The Hulk will open in 100 Dutch cinemas on July 10th.

  • Evert de Beijer's computer animation "Car Craze" has become the 2003 winner of "Special Distinction" ("Mention Spèciale") Award at the Festival of Annecy which took place in France between June 2nd and 7th. The story involves a milieu inspector who becomes unexpectedly trapped in an industrial city dominated by monstrous automobiles. He finds little rest during his short stay in a motel, especially when he discovers that cars are evolving into parasitic life forms which busy themselves sucking vital juices out of the earth.

  • Director René Roelofs' 3-part documentary titled "Glazen Huis" ("Glass House") about the "Tweede Kamer" (the Dutch parallel to the "House of Commons" in England and the "Senate" in the United States) promises to be more a revelation about daily operations behind the scenes than a shocking eye-opener about Dutch politics. The first part, which is already completed (with the exception of some minor applications) moves beautifully through the corridors of power in The Hague where representatives sometimes almost seem to be randomly tossed together like a jumble of all sorts. As the program progresses and becomes more tightly knit, it heads closer and closer to the inevitable end that, despite familiarity by many (especially those living in the Netherlands) with the events of the past political year, still manages to deliver the viewer a pleasing punch.

    Roelofs says that "Two years ago, I approached the "Presidium" of the "Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal" with a request to film behind closed doors in hope of making a portrait of the "Tweede Kamer" as seen from the inside. My request was denied at that time. One year later Pim Fortuyn and his LPF party made their unexpected appearance on the scene. Throughout the country the call for more openness from the political arena was heard. I attempted to make a second request for my project and was met with success this time around. Having broken the barriers, arrangements were suitably made to begin shooting for the duration of one year commencing on the day following elections.

    Four Dutch political parties (CDA, LPF, D66 and the SP) agreed to allow me access to everything concerned with their operations. One week before the project was finally to get off the ground, however, Fortuyn was murdered and Dutch politics were hurled upside down into an unbelievably hectic year."

    "I have no idea whether or not the "Presidium" later regretted its decision to cooperate on this film project. Representatives in The Hague (ed.- seat of government) have yet to view the film. As January, 2003 approached its end the second round of elections were already taking place and it was clear to me that shooting was finished. I began montage of the already assembled material."

    Each segment will be approximately one hour in length and will commence broadcast Friday, September 5th on Nederland 3 under the auspices of NPS' Dokwerk series.

  • Jos de Putter's "Dans, Grozny Dans was acclaimed best feature length documentary film at the "Message to Man" International Documentary Short and Animated Films Festival in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. De Putter's film also won the Grand Prix for best documentary film at Chicago International Documentary Film Festival earlier this year. Ramzan Achmadov, choreographer for the Chechnyan group Daymokhk (around whom the film centers), was also awarded by the Russian jury with honorary mention "for humanity in the face of adversity". The film has been playing in selected Dutch cinemas since June 12th.

  • Eddy Terstall starts principle photography this month on his upcoming film "Simon" in which the story of friendship between a macho hash dealer and a gay dental student is presented as a comedy dealing with such socially relevant issues as homosexual marriage and terminal illness. Featured among the cast are Cees Geel ("Karakter", Advocaat van de Hanen", "De Grot"), Marcel Hensema ("Trip van Teetje", "Ivoren Wachters", "Lef"), Nadja Hüpscher, Rifka Lodeizen, Johnny de Mol Jr., Daan Ekkel, Dirk Zeelenberg, Maria Kooistra and Eva Duijvestein.

  • As a note of interest, "Kees de Jongen" began filming recently, as many may have noticed when producer Matthijs van Heiningen turned up on Dam Square in Amsterdam with his carriages and horses. Following in the footsteps of "Kruimeltje", "Abeltje", "Pietje Bell", "Tom and Thomas" and, most recently, "De Schippers van de Kameleon" (not to mention the upcoming "Pietje Bell II"), one imagines that the Dutch lust for children's films with child actors is something for production companies to bank upon. Of course, the only really notable child performance (in the sense of acting) emanating from the Lowlands to date (not counting Danny de Monk in the adult drama "Rooie Sien") is Quinten Schram's performance in "Pietje Bell" (and possibly Ruud Feltkamp's work in "Kruimeltje"). Could being the son of a producer and director possibly allow for sufficient rehearsal time usually so sorely needed, but often apparently missing? If so, producers might do well to begin their planning earlier for all future productions so that laboring mothers can produce youngsters who are able, in turn, to escape the legal hassles (child labor laws in the cinema sector) which often end in lower productivity and less quality.

  • As another matter of interest, the bitter custody battle over six-year-old Billy Kramer was top of the list again last Monday, June 30, when "Kramer vs. Kramer" screened in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Oscar history was made when Justin Henry was nominated for his supporting performance in the film and at age eight became the youngest nominee in a competitive category - a title he still holds to this day.

  • The 5th edition of "Encounters", the South African International Documentary Festival will be taking place in Cape Town from July 20th through 29th and in Johannesburg from August 1st to August 7th. Among the 54 titles included are Mark Kaplan's "Between Joyce and Remembrance" and Jonathan de Vries' "Casa del Musica". Further information available at: www.encounters.co.za.

  • Pathé is extending its 50-Plus offer which allows anyone fifty years of age or older to attend afternoon films for a reduced ticket price on either one or two afternoons during the week (depending upon the theatre's policy) in seven cinemas (including the Amsterdam Tuschinski) and invites them beforehand to enjoy a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. Among the list of films available are "Citizen Kane", "Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster", "De Tweeling" and "The Hours". The full list of films as well as the day this offer is available can be found on the website www.pathe.nl.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett