Johan van der Keuken – To Sang Fotostudio + Leven met je ogen aka Living with your eyes (1997)

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Description: Those familiar with van der Keuken’s films are aware of his extraordinary capacity to observe with a camera, to make the everyday magical and to slowly reveal the marvelous complexity of individuals’ lives. In his captivating new short, the delightful van der Keuken focuses on photography, in particular the extraordinary figure of a Chinese immigrant portrait photographer. A man of great authority, To Sang poses his various clients, all of whom work on the same street, with a precise sense of what constitutes a good photograph. He “directs” his clients into old- fashioned poses with a deft series of gestures: a Pakistani daughter stands between her visiting mother and father, a Kurdish son with his parents, a Surinamese travel agent sits alone. For van der Keuken, these photographs are “dream images,” more revealing of illusions and role-playing than reality. To Sang Fotostudio is not only a reflexive meditation on what an image is but also a complex portrait of a colorful, diverse neighborhood. Continue reading

Johan van der Keuken – De Weg naar het Zuiden AKA The Way South (1981)

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The coronation of Queen Beatrix on the eve of May Day in 1980 provides a salient point of departure for Johan van der Keuken’s The Way South, a cultural interrogation into the intertwined sociopolitical landscape of immigration, dislocation, underprivilege, and class division. Continuing on the prevailing theme of economic disparity between the continental north and south (in such essay films as Diary, The White Castle, and the The New Ice Age), van der Keuken encounters his first destination within a short distance from his home in Amsterdam, where a unused office building on Kinker Street has been converted to a communal squat by activists (who see their action as a pragmatic solution to the affordable housing shortage by making use of existing real estate that would otherwise remain unoccupied). Facing an imminent siege by riot police to force their eviction, the squatters discuss the logistics of their staged resistance, from rounding up volunteers for round the clock sentry duty to guard the main entrance, to installing reinforcing screens in order to thwart a surprise intrusion from unsecured windows. Intercutting a shot of the activists protesting in the street with footage of a public rally celebrating the country’s liberation in 1945, van der Keuken presents the activists’ defiant expression of freedom within the irony of self-imprisonment that reveals their idealistic act of resistance. Continue reading

Sabine Bürger, Steve Roden & Machinefabriek – Lichtung (2010)

Synopsis
The ‘Lichtung’ exhibition was a three-way project centered around an audio-visual installation. The American visual and sound artist Steve Roden and the Dutch sound artist and musician Rutger Zuydervelt provided the audio whilst the German visual artist Sabine Bürger provided the video element. Additionally each of the artists exhibited examples of their own work on paper addressing the interface between the audio and the visual. Continue reading

David Verbeek – Full Contact (2015)

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Quote:
Full Contact is a contemporary tale of a man trying to find new purpose in life after accidentally bombing a school through a remotely operated drone plane. Ivan, operating the plane from a far away air force base, has never been to the foreign countries of his attacks, nor has he ever touched the plane he uses to kill. Modern warfare keeps him safe and disconnected from his prey. However, after this incident Ivan’s disconnectedness starts to apply to everything in his life. He is overwhelmed by feelings of guilt that he is unable to process. Continue reading

Fons Rademakers – Because of the Cats AKA The Rape (1973)

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From IMDB:
A gang of six wealthy, well-dressed and well-spoken hoodlums break into a married couple’s house and rape the wife while forcing the husband to watch. Thus begins a dogged investigation by a determined detective who quickly finds that their cult-like solidarity can be a serious obstacle to breaking them. Continue reading

Marijke de Valck – Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory (Film Culture in Transition) (2005)

Quote:
Publisher description for Cinephilia : movies, love and memory / edited by Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener.

They obsess over the nuances of a Douglas Sirk or Ingmar Bergman film; they revel in books such as François Truffaut’s Hitchcock; they happily subscribe to the Sundance Channel—they are the rare breed known as cinephiles. Though much has been made of the classic era of cinephilia from the 1950s to the 1970s, Cinephilia documents the latest generation of cinephiles and their use of new technologies. With the advent of home theaters, digital recording devices, online film communities, cinephiles today pursue their dedication to film outside of institutional settings. A radical new history of film culture, Cinephilia breaks new ground for students and scholars alike. Continue reading