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Fahrenheit 9/11 Finally Reached Dutch Shores in July
Following On the Heels of Bush's June PR Tour of Duty
While Dutch Translation of "House of Bush, House of Saud" Hits the Shelves
As Author Visits Amsterdam for Book Launch.

Also Heat Hits Amsterdam Waters at Time of Pride /
Dutch Filmmuseum Serves Cooling Drinks to Tunes of German Trio
For Screening of Silent Classic

Audrey Hepburn Shines On Screens Again /
Mrs. Norman Maine Makes Comeback in Hollywood /
Variedly Virtuous Bebe Neuwirth Sings Up A Storm at the Zipper /
And Wim Verstappen Dies

So, Does Anybody Still Remember Esther Blodgett?

(August 2004)

  • "Fahrenheit 9/11" is, of course, also a success in the Netherlands. Michael Moore has already increased his downsized share in this country since the first screenings of "Bowling for Columbine", which became the big hit of last year's IDFA (International Documentary FilmFestival Amsterdam). (Many had initially hoped that Moore might come to Amsterdam in person during that festival, considering he was appearing on the West End stage at the time in a one-man show, but, despite the organization's attempts to draw him across the channel, his schedule wouldn't allow time.) No need to discuss the subject of his latest film, the message of which has already spread far and wide, but there is an interesting note about someone who played an important role as source of much information to be found in the film: Craig Unger did come to Amsterdam last month in order to launch the Dutch language publication of his new book "De Familie Bush en Het Huis Saud" ("House of Bush, House of Saud").

    American edition:
    published by Scribner
    Dutch translation by Ruud van der Helm
    published by Metsen Schilt Uitgevers, Amsterdam

    Unquestionably, more people have seen Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11" than have read Craig Unger's "House of Bush, House of Saud" and yet it is this book that served as a basis for the first part of the film. It has also set loose a field day of sandstorms among those who cry out, with accusing fingers, paranoia or conspiracy theory. Some may austerely complain while not attending to the finer details of Mr. Unger's book, as exemplified in one instance by Mr. Unger's analysis of numerous mistakes, misinformations and misquotes cited in articles by Michael Isikoff for Newsweek magazine which manage to attack both Mr. Unger and Mr. Moore.

    Mr. Unger visited Amsterdam at the end of last month and shared his insights, experiences, investigations and summations with a captivated audience at the Amstelkerk. It seems that when Mr. Unger was a child he had the debatable pleasure of camping alongside George W. Having lived in the same area of Texas, his path often crossed that of both father Bush as well as his illustrious son, until he decided to follow a different path in life than that of the future president, chose journalism as a profession and a method to investigate truth, and moved out of the state. Having become a noted writer for "The Observer", he has since turned his pen to freelance journalism as well as becoming the author of books. He spent two years preparing this latest earth-shattering volume. Having noticed, during preparatory investigations, that many pieces of the puzzle stuck out awkwardly from arguments which seemed to possibly camouflage unrevealed aspects of the Bush-Saudi relationship, he finally became convinced that there was more to the tale than met the eye or ear when, two days following the 9/11 disaster, the Carlyle Group website (a company heavily funded by the Saudis and to which George H. W. Bush had been connected for eight years at that time) disappeared from the web, only to reappear some time later with all he Saudi names removed from the list of those associated with the company. The Carlyle Group also has such notable associates as James Baker, Frank Carlucci and Richard Darman. George the father and Baker allegedly made four trips to Saudi Arabia in 2003 on Carlyle's behalf where George H. W. also had private meetings with the members of the Saudi Binladen Group. And then there are the curious facts about the airlines that transported members of the Bin Laden family out of the country immediately following 9/11 while all other public transpiration had ceased flying. Enough. The rest you must investigate for yourself. The film stirs more emotions (and anger) than the book whereas the book offers more information and a systematically logical investigation. Try both. They should awake a response from almost everyone.

    The biggest box-office takes for any documentary to date world wide, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is presently being screened in 36 theatres throughout Holland. Further info available at www.michaelmoore.com .

    For further information on Craig Unger and the book, surf to www.houseofbush.com or http://www.metsenschilt.com/info/905330388x.html .

  • The Netherlands Filmmuseum continues their Audrey Hepburn festival in Amsterdam throughout August. Further information on films and dates available at www.filmmuseum.nl . Breakfast can be purchased at the Café Vertigo downstairs, but you'll have to bring your own diamonds.

  • The annual open-air screenings of the Netherlands Filmmuseum already started in July and will continue every Friday evening through the beginning of September. "Absolut Sunsets", this year's program sponsored by Absolut Vodka, includes such treats as "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels", "Groundhog Day" and "Wait Until Dark." Entrance to the films, as usual, will be free, but a seat on the Filmmuseum terrace during the "Uitmarkt" weekend will cost 3 Euros (which also covers the cost of a beverage). Reservations for the "uitmarkt" screenings should be made one week earlier and there is a limit of five tickets to each customer. Friday, August 27th will enjoy a screening of Robert Siodmak's "Menschen am Zontag" (1930) which is intended to give a taste of what might be expected during the Filmmuseum Biennial program for April of 2005. This silent classic contains a brand new score and will be accompanied during the "uitmarkt" live on the evening with a simultaneous performance by the German Trio Bravo. Further information on films available at www.filmmuseum.nl .

  • And speaking of the "Uitmarkt", which inaugurates the new cultural year in the Netherlands annually, there is just too much to mention (music, theatre, movies, dance, etc), so we suggest cruising along to their site at www.uitmarkt.nl/programma.cfm if you have any plans to be in Amsterdam during the weekend of August 27th-28th-29th.

  • And speaking (once again) of too much to mention, the 9th edition of the Amsterdam Pride (www.amsterdampride.nl), which starts on Thursday, August 5th and runs through Sunday, August 8th, will not only include the famous canal boat parade (on Saturday, August 7th - which promises a longed-for return of more flesh on open waters), but also a series of Open Air Screenings at the Nieuwmarkt (so needed on those hot August nights):

    • Thom Fitzgerald's "The Event" with Parker Posey - Thursday, August 5th - 22:00-23:30

    • Julian Schnabel's magnificent "Before Night Falls" starring Javier Bardem as poet Reynaldo Arenas - Friday, August 6th - 22:00 - 24:00

    • David Moreton's "Edge of Seventeen" - Saturday, August 7th - 22:00 - 24:00

    Also scheduled as part of the festival is a screening of "Songs of Freedom" at the COC Filmcafé, Rozenstraat 14. This documentary, presented under the auspices of Amnesty International, reveals life among the gays and lesbians of Jamaica as well as the numerous ordeals and violence they experience. Screening is scheduled for Thursday, August 5th at 21:00. For further information about this film see http://www.cocamsterdam.nl/ .

    NB - Information regarding Amnesty International's FilmFestival (which takes place earlier in the year) can be found at http://www.amnesty.nl/filmfestival/index.shtml .

  • It might surprise some that Fernando León de Aranoa's third film "Los Lunes al Sol" ("Mondays in the Sun") has, within two weeks, risen to 15th place in the Dutch box office top 20. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise, considering the film has already won five Goya's, including Best Spanish film, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. A story about a group of unemployed, middle-aged men whose lives are stranded in a Spanish city on the northwest coast. Showing in Amsterdam both at The Movies and the Filmmuseum Cinerama, it is also being screened in Rotterdam, Maastricht, and Eindhoven. Further information (in Spanish, English, or French) available at www.loslunesalsol.com .

  • Principle photography began last month in Amsterdam for "Deuce Bigalow 2: Destination Amsterdam." Those who are enthralled by the likes of Rob Schneider and Eddie Griffin will also undoubtedly be pleased by the participation of such noted Dutch actors as Jeroen Krabbé. 60% of the cast of this second "Bigalow" film will, as a matter of fact, be constituted of Dutch actors. We won't bother mentioning the story line because, like Deuce, we don't want to give too much away. Worth the price of a ticket?

  • Pathé theatres, which have the mighty chunk of the cinema chains in Holland, have decided to pass on Theo van Gogh's latest venture, titled "Cool." A decision, it would seem, has been made that the film is not commercially viable enough for their cinemas. Cool? Uncool? Van Gogh puts the blame on a certain renowned red-headed film journalist who does the scheduling for their theatres. This journalist, in turn, allegedly claims that such claims are completely unfounded. Is van Gogh raising dust again or did he sit on a cactus? Cool or uncool? In any case, TvG has started work on his next project, supposedly based upon the death of political advisor and would-be chancellor Pim Fortuyn, which will become the first Dutch film to be released on broadband. Is this his revenge?

  • Producer/director Wim Verstappen died last month at the age of 67 in Amsterdam. Known mostly during the sixties and seventies as one half of the famous "Pim and Wim" team (the other filmmaker being Pim de la Parra), who, under the name of Scorpio Films, produced and directed 13 features and 20 shorts, Verstappen became more noted during his last years for the support he leant and effort he put in on behalf of the film culture in Holland, earning a Golden Calf for this in 1995. Amongst the films he directed are "Grijpstra en De Gier" "Pastorale 43" and, naturally, the scandalous-for-its-time "Blue Movie". He also received the first Dutch Filmmuseum Award in 1992, both for his body of work and efforts for Dutch film.

  • The 1937 Best Picture nominee "A Star Is Born" will shine on the silver screen on Monday, August 2, when the film is featured as the next installment in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Great To Be Nominated" series. A restored Technicolor print of the film will screen at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Hearst Metrotone Newsreel "Clara Bow Opens Her 'It' Club in Hollywood" will precede the feature presentation. The Best Song nominee of 1937, "They Can't Take That Away from Me" as performed by Fred Astaire in the film "Shall We Dance," and selections from the Oscar®-nominated score from the film "Lost Horizon" will provide the curtain music. Tickets for each screening in the "Great To Be Nominated" series may be purchased on an individual basis at a cost of $5 each for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid I.D. Tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, pending availability, the night of the screening 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.

  • The luscious, scintillating Bebe Neuwirth is kicking her heels Off Broadway once again, slinky and sexy as ever in "Here Lies Jenny," a fabulous evening with Miss Neuwirth and the music of Weill. Catch it quick, it's been extended, but not for too long, at The Zipper Theatre, 336 West 37th St. More info at www.zippertheater.com .

  • And speaking of good theatre: those of you with interest in drama, comedy and musical performance with pockets that can't quite afford such luxuries nowadays will be pleased to note that TKTS (already renowned for their booths on Leicester and Times Square) has now opened a half-price ticket booth at Canary Wharf in London at the DLR station on platform 4/5 (open 11:30 AM - 6 PM Monday through Saturday).

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