Star Wars: A New Frontier

First off, I know I’m mixing my film sagas. Don’t get all freaked out.

But today, in finally going to see the new Star Wars film, I did venture into a new frontier of sorts. You see, this was the first time I’ve seen a film in a theater since moving to the Netherlands. It’s hardly the first film I’ve seen, but we just haven’t gone to the bioscoop to see any of them. No real reason, it’s just something we never got around to. To be fair, we hadn’t seen a lot of films in the theater in the US for the last few years we were there. I was tempted with the latest Mad Max, but never quite got around to it. However, with the new Star Wars film, I knew I had to see it on a big screen.

We booked our tickets and seats online this morning before we went. I guess it’s kind of cool to be able to reserve specific seats, but that’s one aspect I’m ambivalent about. One of the things I’d heard about Dutch movie theaters is that they still generally do an intermission during the film. However, we were warned by the woman checking our tickets that there would be no pause in Star Wars. I suppose since it’s such a long film already, adding any additional time would mess with scheduling.

Since we haven’t been to a theater in years, we decided to skip the 3D showing, not sure if we’d really want that experience yet. Maybe I’ll go back and see the film again, but in 3D. There’s another theater closer if I want, but the Pathé Rembrandt theater we went to was quite nice. As you can see from the top photo, it was a large room with a good-sized screen. I think one of the reasons we’d stopped going was that the rooms and screens seemed like they were getting smaller. This was a great size (and great audio) for a film like Star Wars. And hey, you can’t complain when a theater is set along a canal and next to an attractive church.
St. Augustinuskerk
So yeah, the wait to see a film in the theater was worth it, and so was the film itself. No spoilers, but I really did love it.

Nederlands Film Festival Opening

Gouden Kalf

Nederlands Film Festival
Wednesday saw the opening of the annual Nederlands Film Festival at the Stadsschouwburg. I’ve taken photos of the Gouden Kalf (Golden Calf) in the past, but never gone to one of the big events, despite the proximity. This year, I figured I’d go check out the red-carpet opening. With camera in hand — and supposedly freshly charged batteries — we wandered over to see what was going on.
Red Carpet
I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be. Would there be throngs of screaming fans? Would there be a constant blinding flash of paparazzi flash bulbs? Would there be fancy cars and fancy gowns?

Well, no. Not really. There was one fancy gown, worn by the star of the film that was premiering, though. Sylvia Hoeks showed up in a pretty dusty-pink, tiered-ruffled, full-length gown with a bit of a swooshy tail. She also has the perkiest of pretty noses. If it’s real, she’s incredibly lucky. If it’s a nose-job, she should thank her surgeon daily.
Sylvia Hoeks

The Dress
As you can see, I got pretty close. In fact, I got up right behind the row of press interviewers and photographers. As for the screaming fans, well, there were fans, but they weren’t screaming. In fact, they were quite calm and friendly and very polite and sweet. I wasn’t really there as a fan, since there was only one person there I recognized, but they didn’t know that. Sometimes one of the fans would see me or another fan trying to get a shot and they’d say sorry and move out of the way to help you get a better shot. It was really quite a nice experience!
Almost a Papparazza

As I said, there was only one person whom I actually recognized. Carice van Houten was the one Dutch actress that I knew of, and I thought she might be there that evening, but I wasn’t sure. As I was turned around to talk to G — explaining that I was kind of hoping Carice would show up — I turned back to the red carpet and suddenly there she was, right in front of me. I’m pretty sure I said something like, “Oh! That’s her!” loudly enough for one of the girls in front of me to turn around and give me a smile.
Carice van Houten

Carice van Houten

Besides being the opening of the film festival, which goes through September 30, the event was also the opening of the film De Bende van Oss (The Gang from Oss). The film is about a woman (played by Sylvia Hoeks), who wants to get out of the life of crime she’s living in the 1930s. In looking up the film, I realized that a woman I know of — a fellow Southern expat who now lives in Rotterdam and plays a mean ukulele — was involved with the film, gathering up extras. I remember seeing her post about it a while back, so it’s fun to see it all come full circle in a way.

There were other stars of the film at the premier, of course. I eventually managed to figure out who most of them are.
Daan Schuurmans
Daan Schuurmans

Interview met Benja Bruijning
Benja Bruijning (in profile)

Matthias Schoenaerts
Matthias Schoenaerts

Frank Lammers en Matthias Schoenaerts
Frank Lammers and Matthias Schoenaerts

There were other actors there who weren’t necessarily in the film, but who have films premiering at the festival, so they came along to the opening. Along with Carice, there was Anna Drijver, who is in the film Loft, which looks like a sexy murder thriller.
Anna Drijver

There was also Halina Reijn, who is in the upcoming film Isabelle, about a woman kidnapped and held hostage, perhaps with hints of Stephen King’s Misery.
Halina Reijn

We had a fun time watching the arrivals, even if we didn’t recognize that many people. You could still tell who the “important” ones were by the sudden rush for photos, not to mention the longer interviews. And now I know the names of some more Dutch actors! I even managed to get a lot of photos, despite the fact that my rechargeable batteries weren’t holding the charge. The camera kept shutting down on me after every couple of photos. Frustrating! I know I could have gotten better photos if I’d not had to take them so fast. Maybe I’ll go to the closing event. I keep hoping to see Michiel Huisman (Treme) or Rutger Hauer. A girl can dream!

Here’s the trailer for De Bende van Oss. FYI, there might be one scene that isn’t the best thing to be caught watching at work.

Foto Vrijdag 2.39 (A Day Late)

I went to Den Haag yesterday to meet up with friends, and in the process forgot that it was Friday and that I should post a photo. So here’s one last Film Festival photo, a day late. I didn’t take a ton of photos yesterday, but hopefully a few turned out decently. I’ll post them if they’re worth it.

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.

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.