Tensing Up for the IFFR 2004?
Have a Blind Massage Before the Madness Starts.
Revving Up For the Oscars® in February?
See What's On Offer in Chicago.
Want to Call Upon Magic From a Century Ago?
Go See Murnau!

(January 2004)

  • "Zatoichi", Takeshi Kitano's latest film, will be the opening film for the 33rd International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFRR). Director, film star, and entertainer Kitano will be present at the event. The 19th century costume drama revolves around Zatoichi, a blind masseur and dice player who is also a virtuoso sword fighter. When he winds up in a mountain village that has desperately fallen into the hands of the Ginzo gang, Zatoichi employs his special skills while confronting the oppressors in battle. The film has already received much attention at the Festivals in Venice (where it won the Golden Lion for Best Director) and Toronto. Due for general release throughout Holland on February 5th.

  • The IFRR will take place between January 21st and February 1st. Check out the website at http://www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/nl for further information.

  • Visitors at the IFRR 2004 will, unfortunately, be a little late for the exhibition of Billy Name's photographs at the "Galerie Esthetica" on the Witte de Withstraat 48A in Rotterdam. Billy Name, as many of you know, is the New York photographer who established his name in the early sixties not only for the renowned shots he made during the Warhol days, but also for the famous silver walls at the Factory and the Electric Circus. When Andy started making films, Name grabbed his own camera and the rest is history. Although this exhibition in Holland anno 2003 served as the centerpiece for the Gallery's grand opening at the end of last year, Billy still has a star position in the glass cabinet that is situated in the front window of the gallery. Works of Warhol, Oldenburg, and other familiar names are still on display. The Gallery is open from Thursdays through Sundays from 1 PM to 6 PM. More information available at: www.kunsthandel-esthetica.com .

  • An exhibition of photos by Catherine Breillat, on the other hand, which are taken directly from images of her latest film "Anatomie de 'Enfer" "Anatomy of Hell" (a suitable title for one of her films) will be on display at RAM, Blekerstraat 10 in Rotterdam throughout the Festival. The film itself will, naturally, be screened during the course of the IFFR. More information at: www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/nl/events/article/339168.html .

  • Alex van Warmerdam's latest film "Grimm" (with notable performances by Halina Reijn and Jacob Derwig in the leading roles) has been selected for screening at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (January 8th through 15th) as well as the Miami International Film Festival (January 30th through February 8th).

  • Family films are still doing well in Holland. "Pietje Bell 2: De Jacht op de Tsarenkroon" ("Peter Bell 2: The Hunt for the Czaar's Crown") pulled in sufficient audience numbers during December to place it third on the Dutch top 20 chart behind "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" and "Finding Nemo". Considering this result and the success of her previous film (the first "Pietje Bell"), as well as the fact that author Chris van Abkoude wrote an entire series about "P. Bell", one could easily imagine that writer and director Maria Peters may be teamed up with this little rascal for many years to come

  • Principle photography on "Amazones" ("Amazons"), which began in December, should wrap in next month. The film (presently hyped as a "socially conscious action comedy") is directed by Esmé Lammers (& Dick Maas) and stars Monique van de Ven, Georgina Verbaan, Monic Hendrickx, and Susan Visser. It is the story of a group of welfare mothers living in the Brabant province of Holland who are sick and tired of being caught in the poverty trap and decide to solve their problems by robbing a bank. The film will probably be due for release before the ladies are.

  • Wolfgang Becker's "Good-bye Lenin!" has become the arthouse hit of the year 2003 in Holland, having attracted more than 100,000 viewers between its opening date on November 13th and the end of the year. Having already won several prizes (including the Blue Angel Award during the 2003 Berlinale for the Best European Film), this is no great wonder. The film arrived as an unexpected and delightful treat and won the hearts of many in a united Germany as well as beyond that country's borders.

  • Landgenoten.
    Scriptwriter Ger Beukenkamp puts another one of his works on show this month, this time both at the Engelenbak and Brakke Grond (practically back to back) on the Nes in Amsterdam when "Landgenoten" ("Countrymen"), a satire on the royal family and a humorous evening with Queen Beatrix, arrives for a short run at these theatres.

    The direction is in the hands of Hans Hylkema, also a noted figure from the Dutch film world, who, among other movies, gave us the colorful "Oeroeg" which starred Jeroen Krabbé and Rik Launspach (the latter who won the Golden Calf for Best Actor that year).

    This play appears on the boards shortly following the broadcast of Beukenkamp's three-part TV drama "Klem in de Draaideuren" ("Trapped in the Revolving Doors") about the relationship between the Dutch Attorney General ("procureur generaal"), Arthur Doctors van Leeuwen, and Minister of Justice, Winnie Sorgdrager.

    Beukenkamp is noted for his approach toward political and royal matters in dramatic form and, considering developments of the past two years, it would seem that Holland is supplying him with more and more material as each day goes by. Who knows what scandalous matters will come dripping out of his pen in the near future?

    Ineke Veenhoven playing Queen Beatrix, sipping tea in the theatre production "Landgenoten"
    written by Ger Beukenkamp
    directed by Hans Hulscher
    © photo courtesy of Anna Lucchiari

  • Queen Beatrix may have been at the Tuschinski for the premiere of "Kees, de Jongen" last November, but Prince Floris van Orange-Nassau van Vollenhoven (don't you just love royal names?) wasn't going to miss a chance to be at the gala-premiere for "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" in the same art-deco cinema in December. He attended in the name of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, who is sub-chairperson of the Dutch Red Cross, to which organization the proceeds for that event will be donated.

    The money, presented in the form of a check (happily), will be used to purchase new game materials for handicapped children in Holland available in the "speel-o-theeks" and "Mappa Mondo" houses belonging to the Red Cross.

  • A new exhibition centering around the career of that incredible German expressionistic director F.W. Murnau opens it's doors on January 24th at the at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California and will run through April. More extensive information on this exhibition will be forthcoming in TGH's February BUZZ.

    "F.W. Murnau: Film Pioneer" is an installation of video clips, documents, photographs, production designs, costumes and set models that provides insight into the legendary silent film director's work which was originally presented as part of the 2003 Berlin Film Festival. The Academy is the only American stop on a multi-city international tour and is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.

  • The Oscar® statuettes made in Chicago by R.S. Owens and Company which will be awarded at the 76th Annual Academy Awards® ceremony will be on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive) from January 23rd through February 18th. This is the first time in Academy history that the Oscars® will be on display prior to Oscar® Night. For more information, visit the Museum's Web site at www.msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.

  • The Oscar® nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 27, 2004, at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2003 will be presented on Sunday, February 29, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®. The Academy Award® for Best Picture of 2003 will be chosen from a list of 254 feature-length films. According to Academy rules, to qualify for consideration a feature-length motion picture must have a running length of more than 40 minutes and have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format. The films must open in a commercial theater, for paid admission, in Los Angeles County between January 1, 2003, and midnight December 31, 2003, and run for seven consecutive days.

  • Yes, most of us have been looking forward to the third part of that precious thing, Peter Jackson's version of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". All three films wound up in the top ten list for Holland when cinemas not only enjoyed the premiere of part three, but organized "Ring marathons" throughout the country, during which time all three films were screened. That adds up to 37,000 for "The Fellowship of the Ring" and 38,000 for The Two Towers". It would appear that the latecomers felt they wouldn't be able to sit out all three. Fools! In any case, "The Return of the King" is now showing in 188 cinemas throughout the Lowlands. Breathtaking is not the word. Hey, Peter, we're all rooting (not in the Australian sense) for your Oscar®. (Do we mean Best Director or Best Film? We mean both.) Let's face it, this film has been recognized as a classic since the first part and the motherlode is well overdue for the golden catch.

  • The Governors Ball, a post-Oscars® dinner held for winners, nominees, presenters and telecast participants, will be held in the Governors Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland® complex immediately following the 76th Academy Awards® presentation on Sunday, February 29. It will be co-chaired by Academy First Vice President Sid Ganis and Academy Vice President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, both of whom represent the Public Relations Branch on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors. "We are preparing for a great night and an elegant party," said Ganis. "Our goal is that our honored guests unwind, relax and enjoy themselves."

  • What else is left to say, except to repeat that, if all is well among the stars, this must be Peter Jackson's year. And he certainly deserves it.

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