Lend a Helping Hand

Bus Stop View
I’ve been asking for people to leave comments for me or buy my calendar, but this time, I’m asking you to help out someone else if you can. On Twitter today, I saw a tweet about a former barman of one of the local cafés who is trying to make a documentary film. He’s got five days left to get the funding he needs for the project, and I thought I’d share the link in case anyone is interested and can help.

The website is in Dutch, as is the promo for the film, but there are English subtitles. The topic of the film — hunting — is an interesting one, in which Singeling (the film maker) explores the different perspectives between “city folk” and hunters and the idea of killing something that you also love.

I’m doing this in part, because I had a long and interesting conversation with Singeling one evening about a variety of topics. We mainly focused on local history and topics of interest, from discussions about mutual neighbours to the fact that one of the Napoleons used to be a “neighbour”, as well. That was how I learned that the university library in town is housed in what used to be the residence of Lodewijk (Louis) Napoleon.

Anyway, I figured I’d do my bit to help spread the word and make the most of social media to help someone who is creative, dedicated, and interesting. I wish him success with his project and hope he reaches his funding goals.

A Little Something for the Ladies

(photo via Het Utrechts Archief)

There’s a great website called Zo Was Utrecht that takes a look back at Utrecht’s history. I also follow the site’s Twitter account, which frequently posts old photos of the city. Today, this photo of Dutch actor Rutger Hauer was posted. It shows him filming the movie Keetje Tippel in 1974, with actress Monique van de Ven. The spot where they are filming is by the Vismarkt on the Oudegracht, a spot I’ve spent a lot of time at over the years, sitting at the tables that are often set up by the nearby restaurants, such as the Restaurant Graaf Floris.

I’ve had a soft spot for Rutger Hauer since the days of Blade Runner and Ladyhawke (what?!), so it’s fun to see this photo. There’s a closer shot to be seen here. He was back in town the other week for the closing awards ceremony at the Nederland Film Festival, where he gave out the best actor award, if I remember correctly. Sadly, I missed him in person, but did watch the video of him arriving on the stage on a motorcycle. At least he’s going to be on the next season of True Blood! Can’t wait!

Anyway, today the Vismarkt looks essentially the same and is still used for a variety of things, including a salsa dance floor. If only I could get my own photo of Rutger Hauer on the Vismarkt!
Salsa at the Vismarkt

Nederlands Film Festival Festivities

Nederlands Film Festival
The annual Nederlands Film Festival has returned. Every year, for a week and a half, Utrecht is overrun with film makers and film buffs as a variety of films are shown at cinemas and theaters around the city. I’ve not gone to see any of the films yet, but I always look forward to the arrival of the huge Gouden Kalf (golden calf) statue’s arrival in the grounds in front of the Stadsschouwburg. The golden calf is the symbol of the film festival and a miniature version is given out to award recipients. It’s essentially the Dutch version of the Oscar.
Golden Achievement
They literally roll out the red carpet at many of the theaters around town, and this year they’ve rolled out the red bikes, as well. At various spots around town, you’ll see a bicycle painted red and with theater names and directional arrows — along with the calf symbol — to direct visitors to the event locations. As you’ll see in the next photo, this bike is directing visitors to the City Theater on Voorstraat, and to the Stadsschouwburg off Lucasbolwerk.
Go By Bike
This evening, as we were relaxing on the sofa, watching the news about the austerity protests taking place in cities around Europe, we suddenly saw large groups of people walking past our own window. Was there an austerity protest going on right in front of us? An ironic one, considering the marchers seemed to be wearing golden cloaks? Nope! It was some sort of parade related to the film festival!
Golden Parade
I’m not exactly sure what the parade was for, but it might have something to do with the Jubilee Evening festivities taking place tonight. I found a mention of a parade of fashion artist Aziz Bekkaoui, but I’m not sure they literally meant a parade. Either way, there are music, art and film celebrations at the Stadsschouwburg tonight, and that seemed to be the direction in which they were heading.
Film Festival Parade
They were also singing as they walked along, and I realized that I knew the song! It’s a Dutch classic, although I admit that I know best the version that was performed at the first Nacht Van Het Vieze Lied (night of the dirty song) I attended. The song was Zing, Vecht, Huil, Bid, Lach, Werk en Bewonder (Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire) by Ramses Shaffy. I really do like this song, so for your listening pleasure, here it is!

Nederlands Film Festival

It’s that time again! The Nederlands Film Festival begins it’s 10-day run tomorrow. As I type, they’re setting up the Golden Calf in front of the Stadsschouwburg over on Lucabolwerk. They’ve had some of the posters up for the past few days, but the Golden Calf wasn’t there and I was worried it had been a one-off thing last year. As I took Pippo out this morning, I was thrilled to see a flash of gold through the trees. Jahoe!

Sadly, no Rutger Hauer this year, at least not publicized; he received a special award last year. That was when I found out he was Dutch. I’d always thought he was German or Scandinavian. How embarrassing! Despite being a fan of his for years, I’d never been sure of his nationality. I blame it on the fact that we couldn’t just Google any celeb we were curious about back in the day, so the reality was I knew next to nothing about Hauer except for the fact that he made some very cool films.

This year, they’re focusing on Dutch filmmakers who have gained some popularity in the international market, but haven’t really been well-known domestically. The title of the theme is The Dutch Angle, a bit of a pun, since that is also a technical term for a particular type of angle or perspective in filming. The Wikipedia entry gives a good example, since it doesn’t make as much sense when just described, at least not to me.

Oh, and for the record, the Golden Calf is the award statuette that is given to the winners on the final night of the festival. Sort of like the Oscar.

Pippo checking out the recently installed film festival set-up at the Neude. He approves the color choices.

Taking Up Space

Eddie Izzard has a joke about the Dutch, saying it’s impossible for them to speak four languages: How do they fit them all in their head? Nobody can speak four languages!

Tonight, I felt almost Dutch. We were watching an English-language film, but it was taking place in Italy. One character was speaking Italian, so the Dutch subtitles were overlapping the English-language subtitles that were already built into the film. Since I couldn’t read either the Dutch or the English subtitles, because of the overlapping, I had to rely on my limited knowledge of Italian. Amazingly, I understood the majority of it and didn’t lose part of the plot! I was dealing with three different languages, but still managed to make it through! I’m almost Dutch! (Even if one of the languages isn’t a traditional Dutch language.) Even watching a really bad film can be an adventure.

Interactive Art

I spent a good chunk of yesterday looking through the website for the Festival an de Werf and found some events that even I, with my limited Dutch, could enjoy. I also found an event with which I was already familiar: Tantôt, aka, the strange robot-type figure I’d seen on Saturday at the bloemenmarkt (flower market). I still wasn’t exactly sure what I would be seeing, based on the description I’d read, but since it was free and nearby at De Neude, I figured why not go.

According to the schedule, Tantôt would be on at 9:30 p.m., so we headed over to see just what exactly Tantôt was. It turned out to be a time-lapse film done to make it appear as if Tantôt is moving on his own — with the occasional bit of transport help — around Utrecht. He starts off in front of the post office there in the Neude, where we were watching the film, moves on to an area that I’m drawing a blank on, then to the bloemenmarkt, and then to one of the canals.

When I realized it was a film that we’d be seeing, I had to laugh when I realized I’d inadvertently become a part of the performance when I’d stopped to take the picture the day before. Of course, I got the picture as they were moving the figure, so depending on how long a pause they made to do the adjustment, I may not actually be in the film. To see the short film for yourself, click here.

Film Festival

(This photo taken over at Neude, in front of the main post office.)
The Netherlands Film Festival begins today. They’ve been setting up over at the theater for the past couple of days. Hopefully, I’ll manage to get some pictures tomorrow or in the days to come. What I’d love to get is a picture of is Rutger Hauer, as he’s receiving a Golden Calf for Culture Award tonight. Blade Runner!!!

Maybe by next year we’ll understand a bit more of the language to make it worthwhile trying to attend something or other.