Amnesty Film Festival Opens Doors for Sixth Edition
Dick Clarke Rocks N' Rolls the White House
Princess Juliana's Death Marks End of an Era
Dutch Rapscallion Peter Bell Hits Canada's Sprockets
Restoration Eye Opener Shows Hollywood "The Human Dutch"
Production Seminar Covers Designs for Past and Present
And More Horror for Holland

(April 2004)

  • New logo of Amnesty International.
    Human rights and the role of cinema are once again central aspects of the Amnesty International Film Festival as it celebrates its 6th edition this month. The Grand Opening will took place on Wednesday, March 31st at the Tropenmuseum (KIT) in Amsterdam, where Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi will deliver a video message to a sold-out audience. Themes concentrated upon this year include 1) violence against women, 2) wartime journalism, and 3) the situation in Haiti.

    During the five days event, numerous films, forums, and debates will capture the interest of those in attendance. War correspondents Peter Arnett, Kate Adie, and Âsne Seierstad will participate in a discussion titled "The First Casualty" Saturday, April 3rd concerning the journalism of war and comment upon Lluis Jené's and Enric Miró's film "Miguel në Terren" (2003) which will be screened during the opening evening. This film is about the Miguel Gil Moreno, the Spanish journalist who relinquished his position as lawyer in order to film in Bosnia and (former) Yugoslavia until he was killed in 2000. Another film, Jonathan Demme's, "The Argronomist" about the charismatic radio personality and Haitian human rights activist Jean Dominque will be screened earlier on the same day, which is the anniversary of Dominque's murder; his widow, Michéle Montas, will be present during for discussion on "Haiti" for this occasion. A retrospective of films directed by Costa-Gavras are also being screened at the festival.

    The festival runs through Sunday, April 4th and is situated (after the opening) at De Balie and Pathé City cinemas on the Leidseplein as well as in the Filmmuseum Vondelpark (which has been especially reserved for the Costa-Gavras screenings).

    More information available about all aspects at: www.amnesty.nl/filmfestival .

  • photo courtesy Netherlands Film Museum
    photo © Nederlands Filmmuseum 2003
    "Zeemansvrouwen" ("Seamen's Wives"), (see also TGH for April 2003, May 2003, September 2003 and October 2003) intended to be the first Dutch sound film, but ultimately released in 1930 as the last Dutch silent, will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday, April 8, at 8 p.m., as the kick-off to a three-week series of Dutch films at UCLA. The Academy screening will feature a new soundtrack by Henny Vrienten, complete with music, sound effects and partly synchronized dialogue, intended to replicate director Henk Kleinman's original intentions. Kleinman, who died in 1944, served as producer for the 1924 film classic "Op Hoop van Zegen" ("On Board The Hope") and directed the 1926 "Die von Schiksal Verfolgten" ("Pursued by Fate"), allegedly joining the Nazi party and the Third Reich Film Committee afterwards and never directed another film after this "Seamen's Wives". Paul Verhoeven (whose "oeuvre" award ceremony in Amsterdam has recently been temporarily postponed due to the unexpected death of Princess Juliana) will be present for the opening night screening along with Dutch colleague and compatriot, director Jan de Bont.

    Set in Amsterdam, "Zeemansvrouwen" uses realism and authentic period detail to tell the dramatic story of a woman caught between the love of a worthy sailor and the criminal she cannot escape.

    "Zeemansvrouwen" was first restored to its original version in the traditional photochemical manner, from the last existing nitrate print. The new sound version is an experiment employing a high-resolution scan of the film in which frames were duplicated. The dialogue, originally performed by professional singers cast by Kleinman in the leading parts, has been reconstructed through the use of lip-readers who were able to partially recover the words that were sung.

    photo courtesy Netherlands Film Museum
    photo © Nederlands Filmmuseum 2003
    The print to be screened is courtesy of the Netherlands Film Museum, and is presented in association with the Consulate General of the Netherlands. The film will be introduced by Giovanna Fossati, curator of the Netherlands Film Museum.

    The Academy screening will open "The Human Dutch: Films from the Netherlands," featuring a dozen films at the UCLA Film and Television Archive from April 9 through 28. The first of the seven evenings at UCLA will include in-person appearances by Paul Verhoeven and Jan de Bont, director and cinematographer, respectively, of that evening's "The Fourth Man." More information about the series at UCLA can be found at www.cinema.ucla.edu .

    Tickets for "Zeemansvrouwen" at the Academy are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members. They may be purchased in advance at the Academy during regular business hours, by mail, or if still available on the night of the screening when the doors open at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.

    For those of you staying in Amsterdam for the summer, "Zeemansvrouwen" will be screened on the big screen at the Tuschinski during as part of the Netherlands Filmmuseum's "Nostaligia" season on Sunday morning, June 13th.

  • English documentary director Kim Longinoto ("Divorce, Iranian Style," "ze Gaea Girls," "The Day I Will Never Forget,") was the guest of the recent Stimuleringsfonds Conference in Amsterdam, which event was hosted by A.M. Gerritsma, director of the Funds, and presented by actress Alida Neslo. Filmmaker Longinoto has a way of getting fascinating material from her subjects while maintaining a safe distance from any methods which might mistakenly insinuate manipulation of the subject. In this way, she both remains utterly faithful to her craft and assures that she handles her topics with the utmost honesty. During the second morning of this exciting two-day forum for film professionals, which encompassed several other events and forums, Longinoto presented a lecture entitled "Research: Pitfalls and Suggestions" and showed segments from her films which exemplified various of her personal methods. The overall effect was to leave an audience duly impressed with her integrity of approach toward any chosen subject as well as an understanding of the difficulties she sometimes encountered when dealing with the realization of a film. This was the final lecture in a series of four. (A different series is presented annually under the auspices of the Netherlands Stimuleringsfonds.) It had the disarming charm of an informal chat with the director. Polite and unassuming, Longinoto presented her viewpoints while making it clear that, in her opinion, many other methods of filmmaking are not only viable, but perhaps better suited to other directors. This was a presentation of her beliefs and methods and, as such, not only displayed her ability as a director, but won the admiration of many present. The only pity is that her discourse, which lasted approximately two hours, was too short to offer her the opportunity to cover all the taped segments and issues she was had prepared. Nevertheless, this is a tiny shortcoming when one assesses what topics she did manage to discuss during this day. A dedicated woman with a special talent.

  • The Stanley Kubrick retrospective continues until April 28th in Amsterdam at the Netherlands Filmmuseum in the Vondelpark. Info and schedule at: www.filmmuseum.nl .

  • photo courtesy Netherlands Film Museum
    photo © Nederlands Filmmuseum
    And a short season of films from the genial hands of director Carl Theodore Dreyser (1889-1968) will take place from April 15th until April 29th. Dreyer's complete work only constitutes fourteen films, yet the man left a lasting mark on cinema that should never be dismissed. For those of you who are not partial to black-and-white cinema, give yourselves a chance: this is one of the great filmmakers well worth the personal sacrifice. "La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc" will (naturally) be screened (with piano accompaniment) as well new copies of "Ordet" ("The Word") "Gertrud" ("Gertrude"), "Vampyr" ("Vampire"), and a brand-new digitally conserved copy (from the Danish Film Institute) of Dreyser's "Once Upon a Time" ("Der war engang").

    photo courtesy Netherlands Film Museum
    photo © Nederlands Filmmuseum
    "Vampyr," (often translated into in English as "The Strange Case of David Gray"), is one of the most memorable of vampire films and it opens startlingly with a view of the bereived at a funeral as seen through the glass window of the coffin by its undead inhabitant. The silent thuds of tumbling earth tossed onto the window pane add to this chillingly innovative moment in a film based upon a novella from the hand of the great Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. TGH highly recommends this curious and haunting film.

    Also included on the list of Dreyer screenings are "Blade of Satan's Bog" ("Pages From Satan's Book"), "Die Gezeichneten" ("Love One Another"), "Du Skal aere din Hustru" ("Thou Shalt Love Thy WIfe"), "Praesidenten" ("The President"), "Vredens Dag" ("Day of Wrath") and "Mikaël" ("Michael "). Check the museum site for further information at www.filmmuseum.nl .

  • From April 14th until April 21st the 20th edition of the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival will take place in the Filmmuseum Cinerama (Marnixstraat 400-402), Melkweg Cinema (Lijnbaansgracht 234 A) and Paradiso (Weteringschans 6-8). The main program includes a selection of approximately 25 recent "fantastic films", some of which will eventually enjoy release in the Dutch cinemas. These films include "The American Astronaut", "Bhoot", "The Ghouls", and "Robot Stories." Various guests associated with the genre will be present for the numerous late night talkshows during the week. "Dawn of the Dead", the remake of George Romero's classic, will also be making it's Dutch premiere during the festival.

    A special edition of the "Rocket Cinema", a screening a series of new short films and clips screened alongside existent soundtracks from science fiction and fantasy films, will take place on Friday, April 16th in the Paradiso.

    During the Amsterdam "Night of Terror" (in the Filmmuseum Cinerama) at midnight on April 17th, four feature length films ("High Tension," "Dawn of the Dead," "The Undead," and "The Toolbox Murders,") will be screened back-to-back, starting at half past midnight. Tickets go on sale April 1st (no joke!). (The Night of Terror" will also take place at the Camera Cinema in Groningen on Friday, April 23rd at 8 PM and in Enschede at the Cinestar Cinema on April 24th at 10:30 PM).

    Further information concerning all aspects of the festival available at www.afff.nl .

  • Of course, some of the most fascinating "Reality TV" was to be seen "live" on CNN last month when Richard Clarke, ex-Anti Terrorist Head for the Bush regime, appeared for questioning before the independent commission investigating the September 11th attacks. Never has a word like "captivating" ever been used to describe a program so appropriately. Clarke was astounding to watch and, although many were undoubtedly glued to their TV sets, one wouldn't be at all surprised if Big Brother was nestled away at home stirring the Rice. No question that R.C.'s (or should we refer to him as D.C.?) book is bound to be a big best-seller and, hopefully, both his spoken and written words will disseminate themselves appropriately and assist the public in taking some of these issues to heart. It would almost seem that the nation either hasn't been paying sufficient attention to a large number of highly placed academics, journalists, politicians, sociologists, and (dare I use the word) intellectuals who have been pointing out these matters for the past two years or else haven't understood the substance of the issues these people have been trying to clarify. There might still be some hope left on the horizon.

  • And speaking of reality TV, the unexpected death of Princess Juliana at 5:50 AM on Tuesday, March 20th was covered extensively during that day on Dutch national television. Referred to as "The People's Queen", she helped the Netherlands recover from the Second World War and was considered unconventional during her reign as Queen, inasmuch as she would bicycle into town, do her shopping in the supermarket, send her children to a state school, and mingle freely amongst her countrymen. She lay in state at Palace Soestdijk until Wednesday, March 24th when she was transferred to Palace Noordeinde, where subjects were able to pay their last respects, offer condolences, and show their respect. Both occasions were televised, on March 20th and March 24th respectively. The occasion was also used to offer an abundance of archive material during the week on the ex-Queen's life and times, including a broadcast of Bert Haanstra's 1979 film "Juliana in Seventy Moving Years" ("Juliana in Zeventig Bewogen Jaren"), The final transmissions were on the morning of Tuesday, March 30th when she was removed to the royal crypt in the New Church in Delft where she is placed among her ancestors, including William of Orange. A time has unquestionably passed and times have changed immensely.

  • Dutch film actor Thom Hoffman's photo exhibition continues at the Melkweg Gallery on the Marnixstraat in Amsterdam through April 11th.

  • CinemAsia, the first Asian film festival in the Netherlands with a mixture of documentaries from independent Asian filmmakers and video artists, will has now ended its run in Amsterdam will continue touring in such Dutch cities as Eindhoven, Groningen, Maastricht, Rotterdam, and Tilburg. Details about the screenings and dates, as well as all further information available at: www.cinemasia.nl/en/program.php .

  • From the 14th through the 21st of April the 20th edition of the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival will take place in the Filmmuseum Cinerama (Marnixstraat 400-402), Melkweg Cinema (Lijnbaansgracht 234 A) and Paradiso (Weteringschans 6-8). The main program will include a selection of approximately 25 recent "fantastic films" which may or may not eventually be released in the Dutch cinemas. These include "The American Astronaut", "Bhoot", "The Ghouls", "Dawn of the Dead" (remake of Romero's zombie classic, and "Robot Stories." Various guests and will be present during the numerous talkshows planned for the week.

    A special edition of the "Rocket Cinema", screening a series of new short films and clips screened alongside existent soundtracks from science fiction and fantasy films, will take place on Friday, April 16th in the Paradiso.

    During the "Night of Terror" (in the Filmmuseum Cinerama) on April 17th, four feature length films will be shown back-to-back starting at half past midnight. Further information available at www.afff.nl .

  • The Balie Cinema offers a series of Dutch experimental films under the title "Dlight"on April 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th. The "DocuZone" Sunday series continues this month each week at 1 PM and beginning on April 4th with a screening of "Aileen Wuoronos: The Selling of a Serial Killer." "Oberhausen Highlights", on the 16th and 17th, will offer the best of the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen (makes sense!). The 22nd through the 25 will be "Starting From Scratch" will surprise many with its accumulation of found footage utilized for new forms. All this and more info available at www.debalie.nl .

  • A four-part seminar examining the art of production design will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences beginning Wednesday, April 14th at 7 p.m. in the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood. The series will continue for three additional Wednesday evenings (April 21st, 28th and May 5th).

    Each session of "Production Design: Concept to Construction" will offer a detailed look at the production design process from the perspective of motion picture production designers themselves. In addition to viewing film clips, the audience will participate in open discussion led by members of the Academy's Art Directors Branch.

    The schedule, as it now stands, includes:

    • April 14th: Production Design: Case Studies; Jeannine Oppewall, who previously received Academy Award® nominations for art direction for both "L.A. Confidential" and "Pleasantville," will discuss her Oscar®-nominated role as production designer for "Seabiscuit." Jim Bissell, whose credits include "Jumanji" and "Hollywood Homicide," will discuss his work as production designer for "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
    • April 21st: Previsualization: Storyboard and Sketch Artists, featuring Carl Aldana, whose credits include "Pleasantville" and "Outbreak," and Jack Johnson, who served as an illustrator for "The Perfect Storm" and "Independence Day."
    • April 28th: Streets and Sets, featuring Bo Welch, who received four Academy Award® nominations for art direction for "The Color Purple," "A Little Princess," "The Birdcage" and "Men in Black." Welch will lead a panel discussion about the teamwork required to produce seamless transitions between locations and stages. Participants scheduled to attend this session include: three-time Academy Award®-nominated set decorator Cheryl Carasik ("A Little Princess," "The Birdcage" and "Men in Black") location scout Lori Bolton ("Something's Gotta Give" and "Ali"), graphic designer Martin Charles ("XXX" and "Catch Me If You Can") and scenic artist Bruce Smith ("Erin Brockovich" and "Fight Club").
    • May 5th: Set Decoration: The Finishing Touch, featuring Marvin March, who has received five Academy Award® nominations for set decoration ("The Sunshine Boys," "The Turning Point," "California Suite," "Annie" and "Addams Family Values"), Rosemary Brandenburg, who served as the set decorator for "The Haunted Mansion" and "Cast Away," and Jay Hart, who received Oscar® nominations for set decoration for "L.A. Confidential" and "Pleasantville."

    Registration for the series is $40 for the general public and $30 for Academy members and students with valid identification. Space is limited. Interested parties may register in advance at the Academy during regular business hours or by mail. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For additional information call 310-247-3000, ext. 111.

  • Two exhibitions, one of film posters from the Czech Republic and the other focusing on the career of famed silent film director F.W. Murnau, continue through April 18th at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Designs for film posters by artists from what is now known as the Czech Republic have long been noted world-wide for the sophistication and creativity of artistic expression in the field of graphic design. This application of this high standard has resulted in some spectacular results for the cinema. The Academy's exhibition features 70 posters dating from 1910 through 2000, highlighting the work of many of the most important artists working in this field. Posters created for Czech, American, Russian, European and Scandinavian films are included. Among the titles represented are "Nosferatu," "Erotikon," "King Kong," "Wild Strawberries," "Closely Watched Trains," "Easy Rider," "The Great Dictator" and "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest."

    "Czech Film Posters of the 20th Century" is presented in association with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. The posters are from the collections of the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, and several private collections.

    "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. Organized by the Berlin Film Museum, the exhibition was originally presented as part of the 2003 Berlin Film Festival. The Academy will be the only American stop on a multi-city international tour.

    Born in 1888, Murnau had made ten feature films in Germany by 1921. It was his next, "Nosferatu," that became an instant classic, with its influence over the genre of vampire film (and horror film in general) continuing even to this day. After making several more films for UFA Studios, including "Der Letzte Mann" (released in the U.S. as "The Last Laugh") and "Faust," Murnau was signed to a contract with Fox Studios, and he left Berlin for Hollywood.

    Murnau's first project in the United States was "Sunrise," which went on to earn Academy Awards® at the very first ceremony for actress Janet Gaynor and cinematographer Karl Rosher, as well as a special award for Unique and Artistic Picture (1927/28).

    During the production of "City Girl" (1929), which was plagued with difficulties, Murnau became friendly with acclaimed documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty, which led them to travel to the South Pacific to make "Tabu" (1931), financed by Murnau himself. Toward the end of filming, with his resources exhausted, Murnau was offered a ten-year contract by Paramount, which also bought the rights to "Tabu." But prior to the film's New York premiere, the director was killed in an automobile accident. Mourned by the top talents of the German film industry and eulogized by director Fritz Lang, Murnau was buried in Berlin in April 1931.

    "F.W. Murnau: Film Pioneer" is presented in association with the Goethe Institut - Los Angeles, which, along with Lufthansa Cargo, has provided generous support for the exhibition.

    In conjunction with the Academy's installation, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Film Department will present a screening series of Murnau's films. The kick-off to the series will be the March 25 Los Angeles premiere of the newly-restored version of "Sunrise," completed by the Academy Film Archive, 20th Century Fox and the British Film Institute. Details of the series and the "Sunrise" screening will be announced separately.

    Admission to these two new exhibitions, which will continue at the Academy through April 18th, is free. Gallery viewing hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.

  • Veteran filmmaker and stop-motion magician Ray Harryhausen will discuss and present five newly-restored prints of his classic fairy tales at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m., in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The event serves as the Academy's 2004 George Pal Lecture on Fantasy in Film. Produced, directed and animated by Harryhausen in the 1940s and '50s, "Mother Goose Stories," "The Story of Little Red Riding Hood," "Hansel and Gretel," "The Story of Rapunzel" and "The Story of King Midas" feature armatures crafted by Harryhausen's machinist father and clothes created and sewn by his mother. The stop-motion puppets were brought to life frame-by-frame by Harryhausen himself. The five short films will be presented in new 35mm prints, blown up from the best surviving materials of the 16mm originals by the Academy Film Archive. Leonard Maltin will moderate the discussion with Harryhausen and those who helped him preserve the films.

    Born in Los Angeles, Harryhausen was first inspired by "King Kong" (1933). What started as a hobby experimenting with three-dimensional stop-motion animation ultimately led to a career as one of the foremost craftsmen in the field of visual effects. Among his most notable credits are "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (1953), "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" (1958), "Jason and the Argonauts" (1963), "One Million Years B.C." (1967), "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" (1977) and "Clash of the Titans" (1981). In 1991, he was honored by the Academy with the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, which is presented to an individual whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.

    The George Pal Lecture on Fantasy in Film was established in 1980 in honor of the filmmaker whose career ranged from the creation of the Puppetoons animated series (on which Harryhausen worked) to producing and directing such fantasy classics as "Destination Moon" (1950), "When Worlds Collide" (1951), "War of the Worlds" (1953), "Tom Thumb" (1958) and "The Time Machine" (1960). The lecture is designed to provide a forum for filmmakers and scholars to discuss the science fiction and fantasy film in all of its variations.

    Tickets for the George Pal Lecture on Fantasy in Film featuring Ray Harryhausen, which go on sale April 1st, are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with valid identification. They may be purchased in advance by mail, during regular business hours at the Academy or on the night of the event, if still available, when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information call 310-247-3000, ext. 111.

  • Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children (a division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group) starts Friday, April 16, 2004 and runs through April 25th. Noted for its offering of educational and entertaining family films from around the globe, this year's highlights include a trio of animated films: the pirate tale "Black Mor's Island" (ages 10 and up) from France, the classic fairy tale "Little Longnose" (ages 7 and up) from Russia, and the comedy/adventure "Jester Till" (ages 6 to 9) from Germany. Returning this year is the popular Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase featuring short films or videos created by and for young people.

    As a forerunner to the Sprockets Festival, the "Sprockets Globetrotter Series" (a monthly program offering quality family friendly films year-round) will be screening the internationally acclaimed Dutch film "Peter Bell" ("Pietje Bell") about a young boy in Rotterdam in the thirties who turns the entire city on its ear on Saturday, April 3rd at 10:00AM.

    All screenings take place at Famous Players Canada Square Cinema, 2190 Yonge Street (Eglinton Subway station) in Toronto. Further information available at: www.bell.ca/sprockets .

  • Hugh Jackman, Australian hearthrob of many who dream of Down Under, has been stealing the spotlight on Broadway in "The Boy From Oz." The musical play, portraying the life and times of title figure Peter Allen and his wife Liza Minelli as well as his other escapades onstage and elsewhere, has captured rave revues and is still going strong. Well, Wolverine, where do your special powers come from?

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