Tag Archives: Johan van der Keuken

Johan van der Keuken – Het oog boven de put AKA The Eye Above the Well (1988)

A poetic depiction of life and ritual in the south Indian state of Kerala. We see how knowledge is passed down from generation to generation: within the family, through the village economy, and especially from teachers to students. Performance footage shows how song, dance, martial arts, and religion constitute the building blocks of a culture. Read More »

Johan van der Keuken – De Meester en de Reus aka the master and the giant (1980)

Between documentary and fiction, The master and the giant approaches the topic of the rivalry in the creation: a first God created the world, a second God destroyed it to build one new, better. Myth and reality meet in this film that puts in scene two different universes: a man and a woman in a neighborhood in demolition of Amsterdam, and images of the life in the confines of the tunecian Sahara. (Written in collaboration with Claude Ménard.) Read More »

Johan van der Keuken – De beeldenstorm AKA Iconoclasm AKA A storm of images (1982)

Amsterdam’s De Melkweg (The Milky Way) is a 1960’s-type counter-culture center, set up in what was once a milk factory. As-yet unknown musical groups, theatre companies and poets perform there… Freedom of expression is absolute, multiform and eclectic; an explosion of rhythms (from rock to New Wave to Afro-Caribbean), colours, words and images attracts a young and cosmopolitan audience with an uncertain future. Portrait of a generation. Read More »

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. Read More »

Johan van der Keuken – Het Oog boven de put AKA The Eye above the well (1988)


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Johan van der Keuken films in India, in Kérala, various situations of teaching or training: courses of a school of dance, songs, martial arts, a vedic school, a scene of theater. In counterpoint, the circulation of the money through the route of a small busy lender of countryside of village in village. It is a filmic movement which collects the gasoline of a civilization, the permanence of certain values of harmony and artistic discipline.

Note: Grand Prix with the Festival of Brussels, 1989. Read More »