Phantom of the Opera

November and October 1997

- Rupert Julian's magnificent Phantom of the Opera (1925) starring Lon Chaney will be accompanied by the live music of Carl Davis on November 4th at the Vredenburg Music Center in Utrecht and November 10th at the monumental Theatre Carre in Amsterdam Davis himself will be conducting the North Netherlands Orchestra during the screenings. Eat your heart out, Andrew Lloyd. For those who have had the chance to see the many filmed versions, it remains painfully true that this remains the only one of note. As an added treat, the screening at the Vredenburg Music Center will be preceded by the introductory lecture of Theodor van Houston (in Dutch, of course), organizer of the series "Film & Music" which throughout the coming year will also be showing Chaplin's The Idle Class & The Kid as well as Harold Lloyd's The Freshman (all accompanied with the live music of Mr. Davis).

- For those of you who can speak Spanish or read Dutch, 6 hours of delightful Latin American soap operas ("Telenovelas") from Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil will be shown back to back at the Balie Theatre on Sunday, November 2nd, near the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. For those who manage to survive the day and still want more, there will be an 8 o' clock screening of the 1995 Mexican film El Anzuelo (The Come - on) in which a wedding couple discover that, with a number of debts incurred by the bride's parents in order to pay for the ceremony, the salary for the musicians has been stolen during the festivities.

- The Maurits Binger Film Institute will be holding a seminar and associated workshops dealing with the theme of "Bringing the Minority to the Majority" starting on Saturday, November 15th at 9:30 A.M. at the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel and continuing on Sunday, same time, at the Institute headquarters, Nieuwe Zijds Voorburgwal 4 - 10. Guests include Andy Borowitz, Ferid Boughedir, Meera Syal, Canan Gerede, and Riwia Brown. Further information available at tel: 020 - 4212048 or fax: 020 - 6383002.

- The 10th annual International Documentary Filmfestival of Amsterdam (IDFA) will take place from November 26th till December 4th. Further information concerning this event, which has grown to a formidable size during the past few years, can be accessed at website). This festival places a special emphasis on the use of music for scoring a film and, indeed, has a special prize for "The Impact of Music on Film" which sets it apart from other festivals. There was an exciting array of workshops (e.g. Digiform), concerts and discussions as well as films. One can only expect an even more exciting event for their special 25th edition next year. Gina Lollabrigida, who performed this year as chairperson on the festival jury, certainly didn't disappoint any fans awaiting something out of the ordinary in her behavior. (Some may recall the consternation she caused some years ago when she was a judge on another panel at another film festival.) This time she felt, for some reason or other, she not only had to refrain from making the vote unanimous for Best Film, but tell members the press that she felt she could not vote for the winning film. Maybe Gina would be happier restricting herself to writing her children's books in the future. Ironically enough, the theme of Film and Repression was the theme for several screenings at the same festival in acknowledgement of the HUAC blacklisting of the 50's. One wonders if Miss Lollabrigida took advantage of seeing some of the films available.

- Eurochocolate, the International Chocolate Exhibition in Amsterdam, closed on Sunday the 26th of October with three sculptors hammering, chiselling, and slicing their way through three 1000 kilo blocks of chocolate positioned on Dam Square. Should have been an impressive show; what a pity it rained the whole day. I guess it's what the Dutch could have easily called "hagel - slag."

October 1997

- De Gordel van Smaragd (The Emerald Circle) was the opening film (Sept. 24th) this year for the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht which takes place from September 24th till October 3rd in Utrecht, Holland. As always, this is the time and the place to catch up on your Dutch films.

- A TV documentary about director Orlow Seunke filmed on location during the making of De Gordel van Smaragd was broadcast recently, revealing how this latest venture opens up new territory in his work.

- Dutch author Jan Wolkers & Dutch actress Monique van de Ven appeared together in a Dutch TV special in anticipation of her commemoration as star at the Dutch Film Festival this year. They spent a lot of time reminiscing about life and Turkish Delight.

- In anticipation of a festival of "Werkteater" films shown at De Balie in Amsterdam, Dutch television aired The Work Theatre (excuse the "h" folks, I know how you ex - members of the group feel about it), a documentary about the ensemble which disbanded some fifteen years ago. Included were nostalgic moments during interviews of those involved at various intervals during the fifteen years the group existed. Noticeably obvious was the fact that some presently renowned Dutch actor had difficulty with the original director of the group because he was telling the actors what to do. (How dare the man! What did he think he was, a director?) Also remarkable was the fact that when the director parted the group as a result of this confrontation, his closest friends and colleagues in art declined to support his position or even attempt to speak up in his defence. This seems to be the moment that the seams began to fall apart. Floundering onward, lacking leadership, the improvisational working group of actors (albeit staging some exciting performances throughout the years) developed various internal tensions and declined artistically until little was left over of the central core. Perhaps they would have had a better future before them if they had decided to allow a director oversee the performances. One cannot refrain from reflecting on the ancient method of staging performances until approximately 200 years ago when wisdom and need finally brought about the creation of the function of director. Two centuries ago, however, seems to have been too late in this group's case.

- On September 20th, the Dutch Labour Party organised their third annual Festival of the Future orientated toward the youth and entitled "On the Road to the 21st Century." The event included (among discussions, debates and other activities) screenings of the Dutch films Zoos (Little Sister)and Nab de Clot (All Screwed Up), as well as the contemporary Scottish classic Transpotting.

- The 15th World Wide Video Festival opened at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on September 12th and ran until September 17th. If you didn't see me there, perhaps you were looking at the wrong screen.

-The Balie Theatre and Melkweg cinema on the Leidseplein both begin showing a series of films under the title of The Beat Generation October 23rd which includes, among others, The Lenny Bruce Performance Film, Shirley Clarke's The Connection, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Pull My Daisy and Conrad Rooks' Chappaqua (see Green Hartnett Emeralds regarding the last title). The series continues through November 5th. Cool, man.

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