Mar 27, 2016

Living




If there is any filmmaker whose works seem to be hopelessly haunted spirit of Faustian man, it is Dutch Renaissance man Frans Zwartjes (Behind Your Walls, Pentimento) who, despite being easily the most original and idiosyncratic auteurs that has ever lived, is rarely discussed by avant-garde and experimental cinema historians, not to mention the fact that none of his films have ever been released on VHS or DVD outside of the Netherlands.  Of course, as an innately visceral and intuitive auteur who does not feel the need to intellectualize his work or compare himself to other filmmakers, Zwartjes never subscribed to trendy film theories and never kissed the ass of Jonas Mekas or his associates, hence why he might allude or annoy certain film historians (notably, as the auteur once humorously stated himself, “My own motor system determined the film style”).  While once rightly described by Sapphic Jewess Susan Sontag as “the most important experimental filmmaker of his time,” Zwartjes only seems to be known nowadays by deathrock/darkwave fans and the occasional eccentric cinephile. I must admit that I have a very personal attachment to Zwartjes' films, as I find them to be totally singular pieces of carefully cultivated celluloid with inordinately abstract cinematic realms of the highly emotionally sort that immediately felt like déjà vu to me the first time I experienced them, at least on the metaphysical level, as they tapped into something wholly primal that I did not feel the need to intellectualize or dissect but instead simply embraced without question. In that sense, Zwartjes is one of those filmmakers that people will either truly love or love to hate, as those that don’t initially ‘get it’ never will. Indeed, if I died and my corpse was reanimated and condemned to a personal perennial purgatory of the nightmarishly claustrophobic sort that was inhabited by the rotting and mangled zombified corpses of a couple of insufferably lecherous ladies that I rather regretted fucking, it might begin to describe what a film like Zwartjes’ classic short Visual Training (1969) means to me on a spiritual level.

Despite the fact that Zwartjes—a musician (and one-time violaist in the Dutch National Opera), violin maker, draughtsman, painter, sculptor, and virtual lifelong professor who is somewhat ironically against the idea of teaching art, especially artistic technique—seems to outright reject all forms of artistic tradition, the splendidly unearthly outdoor scenes in his classic black-and-white short Anamnesis (1969) feel like the all the more eerie and haunting post-apocalyptic equivalent to a Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting. In short, as far as I am concerned, Zwartjes is to non-linear/non-narrative experimental filmmaking what tragic auteur Adriaan Ditvoorst (De blinde Fotograaf aka The Blind Photographer, De Witte waan aka White Madness) is to narrative arthouse filmmaking, as a true cultural heir to Dutch masters like Bruegel and Vincent van Gogh, as a man’s whose work seems to embody the darkest and most forlorn and macabre corners of the seemingly now forsaken Netherlander Volksgeist. The eldest son of an intelligent and cultivated rebel nun who grew to abandon and hate the Catholic Church and a boorish and uneducated working-class pugilist that died when he was only 9 years old, Zwartjes had a less than ideal childhood that involved nearly starving to death during the Second World War, on top of the fact that he came into contact with much internal suffering during his early adult years as a male nurse in a mental hospital, hence his particularly preternatural mastery of apocalyptic cinematic misery and melancholia. Indeed, I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that Zwartjes’ films manage to say more about the human condition with a single shot, camera angle, or edit than Tarantino or Spielberg films do in their entirety, but I digress.  Likewise, quite unlike the preposterously pedantic and largely emotionally vacant intellectual experiments of pathologically masturbatory avant-garde filmmakers like George Landow (aka Owen Land), Paul Sharits, Hollis Frampton, and Tony Conrad, Zwartjes’ films are dripping with grim understated soulfulness, angst, pathos, carnality, Sehnsucht, and Weltschmerz, among other things.



 While his early black-and-white experiments like Birds (1968), Anamnesis (1969), and Visual Training (1969) will always be the Zwartjes films that I appreciate the most since I saw them first and find them to be the rawest and most relatable, I think I have to concur with the Dutch auteur himself that his greatest and most immaculate work is the 14-minute color short Living (1971). Indubitably one of the most idiosyncratically atmospheric and consistently foreboding cinematic works ever made, the film was the final entry in the filmmaker’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ series where Zwartjes utilized his brand new and freshly painted home in the Hague to assemble refreshingly apolitical anti-bourgeois celluloid nightmares that were more subversive than any of the films that were being assembled by the countless counterculture, anarchist, and commie filmmakers that were fairly vogue in Europe at that time. A true 100% auteur piece in the most literal sense as a work where the auteur was responsible for every single aspect of the filmmaking process, including hand-processing his own film prints, Living was both filmed by and stars Zwartjes and his wife and muse Trix Zwartjes, who appeared in virtually every one of her hubby’s films. Indeed, more or less unwittingly inventing the selfie many decades before it became a routine habit among self-absorbed teenage girls on Facebook, Zwartjes filmed almost the entire film while holding the camera in front of his and his wife’s faces. While one would assume that Zwartjes’ literally in-your-face virtuoso handheld camera work would lend a certain realist cinéma-vérité quality to the film, that could not be further from the truth, as Living—a somewhat wickedly ironically titled film—is essentially an experimental dystopian sci-fi flick where it seems like a drone security camera is flying around and recording the deathly dull domestic (non)habits of a scientifically reanimated zombie couple that seems to be too dead to fuck. Sporting white pancake make-up and their Sunday’s best and expressing nil discernible emotions aside from anxiety and dread, Frans and Trix look like a recently deceased middle-aged couple whose corpses were buried at the eponymous supernatural burial ground of Pet Sematary (1989), only to be regrettably reanimated as spiritually comatose undead automatons that lack even the energy to kill. Of course, considering that it is a Zwartjes film, Living certainly has a darkly erotic undercurrent to the point where Trix’s tits and pussy seem to have more life and character than the singularly hapless protagonists.  In that regard, the film sometimes feel like what heaven might be like for a voyeuristic necrophiliac serial killer.  Additionally, in terms of tone and atmosphere, one might describe Living as the closest thing to an abstract avant-garde equivalent to Don Coscarelli's classic cult horror flick Phantasm (1979).



 As Zwartjes once confessed in an interview with homo auteur Mike Hoolboom (Frank's Cock, Letters from Home)—a Canadian who is, incidentally, the son of a Dutchman and Dutch-Indonesian mother—in regard to his seemingly erotomaniacal mindset at the time he made the film, “I was a bit overexposed sexually back then. I had an extreme interest in sex. It made me scream with irritation that what you always saw in films was a man and a woman together – commotion – one, two, up you got. That was not eroticism, that was gymnastics. At the point that they actually made it into bed, a blanket was pulled over the action. Everything went black and a while later you heard teeth being brushed. What I wanted was solely to film under the sheets, in a manner of speaking. Trix, my wife, had a really astonishingly beautiful body. She was a student at the academy. I am one of those teachers who married a student. Scandalous behaviour, I agree. I filmed her a lot.” While Miss Trix admittedly has a nice pair of jumbo jugs, to be aroused by the film is nothing short of borderline necrophilia, as the little lady resembles a well endowed corpse that is just about to break down and rot.  Needless to say, a decomposing cuntkin cannot be too delicious smelling.  If you find the mainstream leftist anti-capitalist symbolism of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) to be a tad bit too heavy-handed, Living makes for a most refreshing alternative as Zwartjes offers no easy answers as to why he and his wife resemble undead funeral attendants, but I think it is safe to say the auteur is not a fan of the post-WWII Dutch bourgeois lifestyle and sees it as something that is innately sick, sterile, and unsettling; or so the film potently suggests in a highly expressive yet sometimes esoteric fashion.  Of course, while Zwartjes criticizes the bourgeoisie, he also somewhat ironically acknowledges that he part of it (after all, the film was shot in actual home). Notably, in his imperative book Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933)—a collection of essays that largely focuses on the lost and deracinated spiritual void that is Faustian man—Carl Jung wrote, “A psycho-neurosis must be understood as the suffering of a human being who has not discovered what life means for him. But all creativeness in the realm of the spirit as well as every psychic advance of man arises from a state of mental suffering, and it is spiritual stagnation, psychic sterility, which causes this state.” Keeping Jung’s quote in mind, I see Living as a sort of unconscious spiritual ritual from an intrinsically irreligious man who believes in nothing aside from artistic expression and the majesty of large mammary glands. While Jung noted, “The modern man has lost all the metaphysical certainties of his medieval brother, and set up in their place the ideal of material security, general welfare and humaneness,” Zwartjes is not only metaphysically moribund, but also sees material security as a sort of form of sterile decay, or so one assumes while watching Living where domestic life is the most perniciously plastic forms of existential purgatory. 



 After beginning with a rather aesthetically pleasing opening credits sequence that includes the title of the film in the flag of the Netherlands colors of blue-white-red, Living cuts to a somewhat ominous and unsettlingly cockeyed low-angle shot of Frans and Trix hovering over the camera while a ceiling window that seems like a sort of gateway to hell disguised an intangible entrance to heaven can be seen behind them. From there, the married couple slowly makes their way down a flight of stairs in an extremely careful, calculated, and almost conspiratorial manner while Frans licks his fingers in a preposterously dainty fashion like some pretentious French wine-sniffing faggot who is afraid of his own asshole. Frans also incessantly plays with a revoltingly flamboyantly colored silk handkerchief that matches his equally ridiculous tie. Needless to say, being an audaciously anally retentive member of the bourgeois undead, Frans does not dare open a door without the help of his trusty hanky.  Needless to say, it does not take long for the viewer to realize that Zwartjes believes that a sanitized existence is a also a spiritually sterile existence that defies all that is natural and organic.

In a seemingly allegorical scene that seems to insinuate that the bourgeois are more or less large children that love fiddling with toys and playing house, Frans and especially Trix fiddle with miniature furniture, which they have placed on top of a sort of homemade blueprint of their home that is fittingly titled “Living.” At one point, Trix strangely steps on the blueprint, as if she thinks that she can somehow enter the image, even though said image is merely a poorly drawn model of the house that she is already standing inside. As the film progresses, Trix rests her head on Frans’ shoulder, but he remains completely indifferent to her loving gestures, as if he is totally immune to love and sensuality, among other things. Indeed, the closest thing to actual emotion that Frans expresses is irrational anxiety as indicated by his seemingly obsessive-compulsive tendency to place his handkerchief on his lips and even in his mouth. Arguably, the climax of the film involves Trix doing a sort of grotesquely lackluster (non)striptease where she is more or less sterilely molested by the ever invasive camera, which seems like it is on the brink of entering her womb like what happens to hardcore diva Catharine Burgess in pseudonymous pornographic auteur Jonas Middleton's classic art-horror porn flick Through the Looking Glass (1976). Aside from the camera entering inside her skirt to the point where it is practically presses against her pantyhose-covered pussy, the well endowed undead dame flashes her tits multiple times in a quite frantic fashion that is made all the more bizarre and even unnerving in that the rather spasmodic scene is in hyper fast-motion. Judging simply by this sort of ‘titty terrorism’ scene in comparison to the rest of the film, I would have to assume that, aside from creating art, the only thing that makes Zwartjes feel truly alive is big tits and creamy cunts with rather fleshy labias (notably, the auteur would get some extra close-up shots of Trix’s timeless twat in Pentimento). In the end, Living fittingly comes full circle, with the protagonists proceeding to go back up the stairs where they stand in exactly the same position on the second floor of the house that they were standing at during beginning of the film. 



 Rather revealing, at the very end of the documentary De Grote tovenaar (2005) aka The Great Magician directed by Ruud Monster, Zwartjes softy states in regard to the supposed innate similarity between artists and mental patients, “There’s a term by Wilhelm Reich, an American psychiatrist…He thought that artists and…lost, confused people, patients, if you will… He invented a term for these disorders: Emotional plague. That really struck a chord with me. My stay in the psychiatric hospital, too. It convinced me…that those people all have emotional plague. Something you have no perception of, and no power over. And no idea that you have it.” While Zwartjes clearly misinterpreted what sexually abusive quack, card-carrying commie, and all-around degenerate wack-job Wilhelm Reich, who was actually an Austrian Jew, meant when he used the phrase “Emotional Plague” (which was really a defamatory slur disguised as a scientific label that the psychoanalyst invented as a weapon so that he could accuse people, especially German gentiles, of suffering from collective psychosis if they supported nationalism/tradition or rejected the sort of degeneracy he was peddling), I think the filmmaker’s remark reveals a lot about both his rather pessimistic mindset and empathy for the mentally afflicted, but also, arguably more notably, it seems to reveal that he felt that he himself was spiritually sick. Had Zwartjes read Jung instead of the innately materialistic Judaic psychoanalysts like Freud, Reich, and Adler, he probably would have better understood the metaphysical affliction that was plaguing him and Occidental man in general. As Jung once wrote, “It seems to me, that, side by side with the decline of religious life, the neuroses grow noticeably more frequent […] everywhere the mental state of European man shows an alarming lack of balance. We are living undeniably in a period of the greatest restlessness, nervous tension, confusion and disorientation of outlook.” Of course, Zwartjes’ Living is practically marinated in “restlessness, nervous tension, confusion and disorientation of outlook,” among other more inexplicable ailments and afflictions that are arguably best communicated in cinematic form.



 Of course, when Friedrich Nietzsche famously wrote in his book Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882) aka The Gay Science, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him,” he was not speaking literally or attempting to sound like some too-cool-for-school proto-hipster iconoclast, but foretelling that the loss in belief in Christianity and Christian morals among Europeans would lead to a sort of dangerously corrosive nihilist plague because they would be left with an intrinsically debilitating void, or to once again quote the Teutonic philosopher, “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one's feet. This morality is by no means self-evident... By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one's hands.”  As demonstrated by the fact that Western Europeans openly welcome hordes of millions of highly hostile Arab Muslim rabble into their nations, it is quite clear that they believe in nothing aside from their own petty, pathetic, and highly self-destructive post-Christian moral posturing. In fact, Jung, who was a sort of reluctant Nietzschean of sorts, noted that the progressive ethno-masochistic ‘tolerance’ of modern European man was a sign of collective mental illness and pathological defeatism, or as he wrote well over half a century before Europe begin transforming into Eurabia, “The revolution in our conscious outlook, brought about by the catastrophic results of the World War, shows itself in our inner life by the shattering of our faith in ourselves and our own worth. We used to regard foreigners—the other side—as political and moral reprobates; but the modern man is forced to recognize that he is politically and morally just like anyone else.” Naturally, as the son of an errant nun, it is no surprise that Zwartjes would succumb to this sort of nihilism, though he would take it to an all the more extreme degree in his firm rejection of artistic tradition and cultural inheritance. Indeed, as a professor, Zwartjes taught an anti-tradition art class that he invented entitled “Non-Applied Design” because he “thought the only thing they did there was re-designing.” South African auteur Aryan Kaganof also once told me a humorous anecdote about how he took a film course with Zwartjes and on the first day of class he stated to the students, “If you really wanted to know how to make films you would be out there with a camera making films, not listening to some old guy like me who thinks he knows it all.”  Of course, the great irony with Zwartjes is that his rejection of cinematic tradition is one of his greatest strengths, as it has led him to becoming one of the most insanely inventive and idiosyncratic filmmakers that has ever lived.  Indeed, cinephiles love to talk about how they can easily recognize a Hitchcock, Roeg, or Tarantino film just by watching a scene or two, but Zwartjes is surely one of the only filmmakers whose cinematic works can be identified by a single frame.



 While Zwartjes is the sort of rare totally transcendental filmmaker whose films could never be adequately analyzed, especially not with intellectual bankrupt theories that are inspired by Frankfurt School style cultural Marxist bullshit, I firmly believe that his cinematic works, especially Living, reflect the deepest and darkest expression of the forsaken post-Christian Faustian man. Of course, as both an irreligious artist and proud sensualist that rejects tradition, Zwartjes is an extreme example of the eponymous ‘modern man’ that Jung spoke of Modern Man in Search of a Soul. As Jung noted in the final chapter of his book, “I have found that modern man has an ineradicable aversion for traditional opinions and inherited truths. He is a Bolshevist for whom all the spiritual standards and forms of the past have lost their validity, and who therefore wants to experiment in the world of the spirit as the Bolshevist experiments with economics.” Undoubtedly, what makes Zwartjes an interesting and truly notable case is that, unlike the Bolsheviks and their all the more degenerate disciples, he has ‘succeeded’ in his experiments and has sired his own cinematic language and universe that was not inspired by any sort of cinematic tradition. Indeed, the only thing cinematically that Zwartjes was ever influenced by was the subversive spirit of the experimental American filmmakers of the 1960s, or as the auteur stated to Hoolboom, “What made a huge impression on me was the New American Cinema. The municipal theatre in Eindhoven presented a new American film program in the early 1960s. For the first time I was able to see films by Bruce Connor, by Markopolous, by that fatso… Peter Kubelka and by Andy Warhol. I thought: Jeesus Christ, what’s going on! In THE SHOPPER by Warhol, the camera is first pointed at the ceiling and then sinks downwards, but you can feel that it was not done by hand. The bolt at the top of the tripod wasn’t screwed tight. The camera sinks down by itself, splendidly. While the camera keeps on shooting, you can meanwhile hear someone talking. The protagonist just keeps on going. The crazy thing is that I started to be irritated by the film after a little while and I went out to get a drink. I must have gone back and forth ten times and each time that I opened the door to have another look, I thought, damn it all, it’s awfully good! Those screenings had a big influence on me.” Of course, judging by his films, it is nearly impossible to see how he was influenced by the non-directed cinematic abortions of weirdo Warhol.  It should also be noted that, although he does not subscribe to Catholicism or Calvinism, Zwartjes has been influenced by philosophia perennis, including the Hindu Vedanta and the writings of Medieval Teutonic mystic Meister Eckhart, hence the strangely spiritual and otherworldly nature of his films.  Indeed, forget Hitchcock, if any filmmaker has codified his own religion of celluloid voyeurism with its own special set of esoteric rites and rituals, it is Zwartjes.



 As the literal “father of Dutch experimental film” and a longtime film professor, Zwartjes has naturally influenced many filmmakers, including such unexpected individuals as music documentarian Frank Scheffer (John Cage: From Zero, Conducting Mahler), yet none of his artistic heirs have even come close to expanding on or even adequately mimicking his singular cinematic techniques. Undoubtedly, the most ‘successful’ of his students is Paul de Nooijer, who co-directed Moving Stills (1972) with Zwartjes, yet his films ultimately seem hopelessly contrived, shallow, goofy, and just plain weak by comparison. Indeed, de Nooijer’ short films like Say Goodbye (1975), Review (1976), and At One View (1989) have an unmistakable Zwartjes-esque vibe to them to the point where the characters in these cinematic works seem like they could be the neighbors or relatives of the protagonists of Living, but unfortunately these admittedly oftentimes quite eccentric flicks lack the teeth and visceral obsessiveness that pervades the director's master's films. In fact, when de Nooijer eventually cultivated his own signature aesthetic that did not seem like it was altogether influenced by Zwartjes, his films began resembling hyper hokey and kitschy 1980s MTV music videos as reflected in intolerably silly and zany cinematic works like N.E.W.S. (1984) and Stop the Greenhouse Effect (1992). While de Nooijer would do things to distance himself from Zwartjes’ style like incorporate various forms of primitive animation, even his more recent works like Lost in America (2005) co-directed by his son Menno de Nooijer radiate aspects of the Zwartjesian universe.  Not surprisingly, Living is obviously the Zwartjes film that has most influenced de Nooijer.



 While most cinephiles and cineastes would probably think I was absolutely insane for admitting this, I cannot deny that Zwartjes’ mere 14-minute short Living is more important to me than the entire oeuvres of legendary directors like John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and David Lean, but then again I have always had more of an affinity for poets than artisans.  Like Danish master auteur Carl Th. Dreyer and fellow Dutchman Ditvoorst with narrative filmmaker, Zwartjes is a rare exception in film history in that he reinvented cinema in terms of both technique and concept.  In that sense, Zwartjes' films are not only brutal for novices in terms of imagery, but also in overall technique, as watching one of his films is like being introduced to cinema for the first time. A filmmaker that thankfully never fell into the Structuralist ghetto or ever subscribed to esoteric commie theories that epitomize the obscenely outmoded and virtually now wholly worthless and equally forgotten intellectual masturbation pieces of asininely arcane excremental avant-gardists like Laura Mulvey and her equally banal bitch-boy Peter Wollen, Zwartjes ultimately also managed to beat the Vienna Aktionist filmmakers like Kurt Kren and Otto Muehl at their own gorgeously grotesque game while at the same time managing to make avant-garde cinematic works that are as entertaining and timeless as those of Kenneth Anger.

Of course, unlike his rather crude Lowland Countries contemporaries like Belgian artsploitation agitator Roland Lethem (La fée sanguinaire, The Bloodthirsty Fairy, Le sexe enrage aka The Red Cunt) and underground necrophilia enthusiast turned mainstream casting director Patrick Hella (Les sables, La tête froide), Zwartjes refined his craft like an old master as opposed to merely throwing something sadistically silly and vaguely artsy fartsy together that mostly relies on sheer cheap shock value (though, admittedly, Lethem and Hella's proudly obnoxious shorts are refreshingly humorous and anarchistic). Notably, as clearly indicated by the impassioned flirting he does while directing his wife Trix and artist Moniek Toebosch at his house in the Hague in the doc Frans Zwartjes, Filmmaker (1971) directed by René Coelho, Zwartjes also knew how to have a lot of fun on his film sets, even if his oftentimes unnervingly foreboding and claustrophobic cinematic works sometimes hint otherwise. Not surprisingly, Zwartjes’ one-time student Aryan Kaganof—undoubtedly one of the most subversive filmmakers of the modern age—would pay tribute to Living and a number of the master’s other films with his 20-minute flick Mother's Day (2014).  While Zwartjes' influence on Kaganof was more in terms of spirit than aesthetics, the South African auteur's masterful Bataille adaptation The Dead Man 2: Return of the Dead Man (1994) certainly has some Zwartjesian moments that recall Pentimento.



 A nearly no budget film that features nil special effects or plot and is set in an almost completely empty all-white house that seems like the all the more nightmarish (anti)bourgeois equivalent to the otherworldly neoclassical style pod room featured at the conclusion of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Living unequivocally proves that creativity, inventiveness, and genuine artistic talent always trump big budgets and lavish. Undoubtedly, when I think about Zwartjes and his films, I cannot help but be reminded of the Edgar Allan Poe quote, “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence–whether much that is glorious–whether all that is profound–does not spring from disease of thought–from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”  Indeed, while watching Living, it feels like I have paid witness to some great metaphysical insight regarding modernity that simply cannot be communicated via writing or in any other art form.  Notably, as Zwartjes confessed to Hoolboom in regard to the personal importance of cinema in comparison to the various other artistic mediums that he has worked within, “According to Trix, I’ve have never been as clear about myself as I am in my films. But I didn’t not see that at all when I was making them. I didn’t interpret those films. Others did, but what they said was often beside the point.”

Undoubtedly, when I watch Living, I see Zwartjes embodying Faustian man as an eerily elderly and decidedly decrepit sexless undead bourgeois corpse who is too apathetic to even bother to acknowledge that his voluptuous and aggressively lecherous yet nonetheless equally cadaverous wife is flashing her big bosoms and pussy at him.  As far as I am concerned, Zwartjes’ film represents the ugly and pathetic extreme of contemporary European man, who is too internally sick and passive to even defend his nation and women from his perennial enemies, or to once again go back to Jung's quote, “We used to regard foreigners—the other side—as political and moral reprobates; but the modern man is forced to recognize that he is politically and morally just like anyone else.”  Of course, only a Dutchman of the almost self-destructively individualistic sort could have directed a film like Living where the condemned corpses of Calvinism haplessly wander around a house they no longer recognize in a land that they feel wholly spiritually dispossessed from.

Surely, if I were given the opportunity to bury one single film in a time capsule as evidence of what led to some sort of catastrophic Occident apocalypse, it would be Zwartjes' magnum opus, which ultimately makes the truly hellish depiction of mid-sixteenth century Holland depicted in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s masterful panorama painting The Triumph of Death (1562) seem like an exceeding exciting time to live by comparison. Quite fittingly, Living is one of the sixteen films that was included in the ‘canon of Dutch cinema’ (aka Canon van de Nederlandse film), thus putting alongside other similarly important cinematic works like Johan van der Keuken's Blind Kind (1964), Adriaan Ditvoorst's Ik kom wat later naar Madra (1965) aka That Way to Madra, Paul Verhoeven's Turks Fruit (1964) aka Turkish Delight, and Alex van Warmerdam's De Noorderlingen (1992) aka The Northerners.  Somewhat unfortunately but not surprisingly, one of Joris Ivens' films was also included in the canon.  Of course, as a result of Ivens and his dubious legacy, film academics and historians tend to associate Dutch cinema with internationally oriented communist agitprop instead of the true celluloid gold of Ditvoorst and Zwartjes.  As far as I am concerned, until the average semi-serious cinephile has the image of Trix Zwartjes' tits burned into their brain, Dutch cinema will not have been given its just due.



-Ty E

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found this review educational and stimulating, revealing a new world. SS is one step beyond the Criterion Collection ghetto and fucking failures preaching at any American film course. Thanks for the effort.

John Bohr said...

r.i.p. Frans