Choose between Queen Beatrix and the Spice Girls

December 1997

- Many may be forced this month to choose between Queen Beatrix and the Spice Girls. Two major premieres in Holland on Wednesday the 17th will make it literally impossible to attend both and therefore force invited film-freaks to make a decision between attending Stijn Coninx's "When The Light Comes" in Amsterdam, where Her Royal Majesty will be in attendance, or "Spiceworld - The Movie" in Rotterdam, where "Highnesses" Emma, Geri, Victoria, Mel B and Mel C will be displaying their wares. One wonders if the difference in the crowds will be at all noticeable.

- The Dutch Film Museum In Amsterdam and the Cinematheek Hague Film House in The Hague have a special treat in store for those with red and green eyes. Yes, the old 3-D movies are going to make a return during the months of December and January during a festival program titled "Raise your Glasses". Classics in their original form, such as Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (remember the scissors?) Vincent Price in House of Wax (remember the ping pong ball?), The Mask (remember the smoky ritual with the mosaic skull?), It Came From Outer Space (remember the saucers and the mutant?), and Warhol's Flesh For Frankenstein (talk about body parts!) are scheduled as well as such tid-bits as Louis Lumiere: Experiments in Relief, The Starlets, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (What ever happened to Ricou Browning?). Holland in Three Dimensions might be especially interesting. For me, it's nostalgia. For those too young to remember, it may explain what drove some of us crazy. A pity it never really caught on; too many people kept complaining about headaches, instead of letting themselves go and getting into it. A rare chance for a fun experience. See you there?.

- Bringing the Minority to the Majority is the title for a series of seminars recently begun under the auspices of the Binger Institute, a film school housed in an impressively named building known as "The End of the World" in Amsterdam. Guest speakers for the opening weekend were Meera Syal, Andy Borowitz, Ferid Boughedir, and Canan Gerede. Among varied and numerous topics under discussion were the conditions faced by immigrants who wish to break into the film world inside their respective countries of residence as well the difficulties faced in attempting to reach a broader public not only within, but beyond the bounds of their homelands. Ironic, to say the least, was the fact that while Meera Syal was explaining how things have improved since she first arrived on England's shores (a time when one extremely popular show on the boards, called "The Black and White Minstrel Show," contained Caucasian actors performing in black-face), St. Nicholas was arriving by boat with his servant Pete (traditionally from Spain and traditionally someone in blacked- up face) at a Dutch port near Central Station (initiating the celebration of an age-old traditional December 5th holiday) and only meters from the Renaissance Hotel where the opening of this conference on minorities and film was taking place.

- Everyone must have noticed the recent activities of the American government regarding situations in Iraq. One must learn to expect anything from a country in which the deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, has, to the dismay of many Iraqi citizens, insisted on having lights on in the cinema throughout the movies in order to prevent any nefarious activities which might be incited by temptations aroused in darkness.

- Although the majority of the Dutch have an aversion to horror films, there is a noticeable cult following in their country. Take, for example, among other celebrations being offered in the last throes of 1997, Dracula's Night at the Kriterion Theatre in Amsterdam, an all-night film marathon featuring Ferrara's The Addiction, Coppola's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Terence Fisher's Horror of Dracula, and William Crain's Blacula running from 10 P.M. on Saturday, December 20th, not to mention Haxen, Witchcraft or Magic at the Melkweg Cinema (in the same city) which has a variety of films planned throughout the month, and including such treats as The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General, Black Sunday, Haxen, (the classic Swedish film from 1921) and the wonderful Burn, Witch, Burn (based upon the intriguing novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber).

- Those of you familiar with the Teletubbies will perhaps be overjoyed to know that they will be getting their first feature length movie this coming year. For those of you unfamiliar with the four characters from the Beeb, let it suffice to say that this children's show is the closest thing to an acid flashback from the 60's since the Beatle's Magical Mystery Tour. This may be a key to the return of the Summer of Love. Tra-la?

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett