Bert Haanstra – Fanfare aka The Brass Band [+Extras] (1958)

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Imdb:
After a fight the brass band in a small village splits up into two separate bands. They both want to win a contest and will do anything to prevent the other band from winning it.

user review:
Brilliant movie from the lower countries!
27 February 2001 | by biepmiep (Rotterdam)

This movie is about a brass band in the fictional place of Brederwiede. When they want to compete in a competition the band splits up in two, because the two lead men in the band can’t agree on the music. Both of them go to the narrator, who is the most intelligent person in town. He composes two separate pieces of music which at the competition will become one piece of music. Very clever done! There is also a love story in this movie: the boy and girl are both children of one of the band leaders. Highlight of the movie is the competition itself when the two pieces of music are combined by a planned coincidence. I saw this film before the very funny Brassed Off. It has got similarities and makes watching these movies even more fun. Continue reading

Alex van Warmerdam – De Noorderlingen aka The Northerners (1992)

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It’s no wonder the residents of the grotesque, unfinished housing development where Alex van Warmerdam has set his surreal comedy, “The Northerners,” are an unbalanced lot. The place is little more than a row of modern houses and a few shops on the edge of a forest somewhere in the Netherlands. Just to get to church, which is miles away, the residents must line up every Sunday morning to take a bus.

The film, set in 1960, follows the interactions of a group of the townspeople who become progressively more unstrung as the movie goes along. The local butcher, Jacob (Jack Wouterse), desperately desires his wife, Martha (Annet Malherbe), who finds him repulsive. Following the instructions of a religious statue, which comes to life when Jacob is not around, she refuses to eat. And as she wastes away, their home becomes a shrine in front of whose picture window the neighbors gather in a silent prayer vigil. Continue reading

Antoinette Beumer – De gelukkige huisvrouw AKA The Happy Housewife (2010)

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ferdyonfilms.com wrote:
CIFF 2010: The Happy Housewife (De gelukkige huisvrouw, 2010)

Director: Antoinette Beumer

2010 Chicago International Film Festival

By Marilyn Ferdinand

“I hate actors,” the cinephile said to me after a screening of a personal essay film that had no actors in it at all. I vaguely understood what he was saying, that actors are tricksters whose presence can take away from the sincerity of a film. As someone who treasures the films of Robert Bresson, the Neorealists, the Nouvelle Vague directors, as well as a slew of more contemporary films that use nonprofessionals, I find the unstudied spontaneity of the performances helps me appreciate the film as a whole rather than focusing on the accomplishments of a single performer. Continue reading

Ben Verbong – De onfatsoenlijke vrouw AKA The Indecent Woman (1991)

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Plot / Synopsis:
Emilia leads a quiet life, together with her husband Charles and her little daughter Anna. To love is a familiar feeling to her, but she is totally oblivious to a feeling such as pure lust. Until she meets Leon.

Their affair starts as a game to which Emilia completely surrenders. But when it starts interfering with her daily existence, she wants out. Continue reading

Johan van der Keuken – Amsterdam Global Village + Amsterdam afterbeat (1996)

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From an interview about this film, conducted by Serge Toubiana,

Is Amsterdam Global Village intended to be the portrait of a city? Can one in fact portray a city?
– I don’t think you can portray anything, but you can build a city through film, using both fictional and direct cinema techniques, which I purposely blend. The constructivist concept is very important to me. At the end of the film, there is a dedication to my friend, the writer Bert Schierbeek, who died this year. Bert Schierbeek wrote: “I always felt that life was made up of 777 stories going on at the same time.” So I thought we could do 777 four-hour films about Amsterdam, even if it’s a small city. But you have to make choices, take risks. When you film you have to disregard certain realities in order to recreate something physical on the screen. In that way, it’s possible to portray a city. Continue reading