The Rotterdam Film Festival

February 1997

The Rotterdam Film Festival (29 Jan - 9 Feb) will enjoy its first year under the auspices of Simon Field, previously known for his work at the ICA in London, as well as under the roof of the new PatheÀ multiplex. The past few years Dutchman Emille Fallaux has been the man responsible for keeping the wheels of the festival well oiled and maintaining an appropriate air of excitement. And a fine job he did, too. But now it's time for the British touch. Two of the exciting premieres for '97 are Cronenburg's Crash (which has already been released abroad) and Schnabel's Basquiat (a must see). It has also been arranged for Jackie Chan to put in a special appearance at the opening of Stanley Tong Kwai-lai's First Strike. David Lynch's newest work Lost Highway may even turn up for a surprise showing, now that it is no longer going to make an appearance at the Berlin Film Festival. Speaking of Berlin, things must be getting rough there, as this will be the first year that journalists are expected to pay a fee (albeit small) for their press passes. If things continue this way, we might expect to see the Silver Bare next year.

The Dutch film establishment was out on the town for the annual event known as the NBF-GNS-NVS New Year's reception (which takes place in mid-January). George Sluizer, one of the most talented Dutch directors (and the man who gave us that subtle, refined, and sensitive film Utz) was among those in the crowd. He is about to begin work on a new feature with Armin Mueller-Stahl, this time pairing him with John Hurt as co-star. Let us also speak of wonderful Dutch celebs such the magnificent actress Willeke van Amelrooy, whose talents helped win the second Dutch Oscar for Best Foreign Film in the last decade. She always looks wonderful. Many of the renowned moved around within the space of the old chapel known as the Fresco Hall, sharing stories and exchanging cards, as is wont on such occasions.

Erik Fransman, newly installed as President of the NBF, spoke of plans for the future and announced that the NBF is now also available on the Net (to be found under http://www.nbf.nl). Jan van Sandwijk, sound technician par excellence, has moved into the position of vice-president. The spotlit sky that has become a trademark since its inception last year is a wonderful way of marking the path and letting one know exactly where the location is to be found. Too many faces to name them all, those mingling included scriptwriter Willem Capteyn, cinematographer Peter Brugman, critic Hans Beerekamp, and director Herbert C. A fine time was almost had by all. One person whose presence was missed (and who was always known for his presence at all cinematic events) was P. Hans Frankfurther, whose act of bravery in attempting to save his son's life last year cost him his own. P. Hans' absence cannot help but be noticed at such moments.

A short note to remind all you ghouls out there that the Brussels' 15th International Festival of the Fantasy Thriller, and Science-Fiction Films begins on March 7th.

CBS will be broadcasting the celebration of the 69th Annual Academy Awards® on the 24th of March, so make a note in your calendar if you haven't done so already.

The Annual Green Goddesses will be making their next appearance sometime in April, needless to say.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett