Rain (Joris Ivens, 1929)

Ah yes, Amsterdam in the rain. Very relaxing.  This city is as beautiful in black-and-white as it is in colour.

Posted: January 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm.

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Les Danza des los Meurtos

My pals, the Anacondas, just released this great new video that comes backed with a heart-warming story from the world of subsidies. After trying to get a relatively straight arts subsidy to make this video, they gave up and instead got one that ties in art with education — apparently that’s where the funding money is these days. For a week, the band worked with teen students building props and filming stock. The results speak for themselves as another solid bit of evidence that — yes indeed — the kids are alright…

Posted: December 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm.

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What’s up Doc?


With the world’s largest documentary film festival IDFA opening this weekend, let’s take a moment to pay tribute to the forgotten masses who have been working the last weeks  in subtitler  sweatshops  found across town in dank basements and dusty attics.   So instead of feeling sorry for all those overhyped masses of  call center workers, take a moment to give thanks to all those selfless subtitlers out there who make this event possible…

Meanwhile check out films about space tourists, the Russian War on the North Sea island of Texel, a non-violent psychopath, a freaky futurist, the birth of Punk Islam, disco in Estonia,  a Belgrade folk hero, the inner life of Glenn Gould, googling yourself a  baby, and some miscreants of Taliwood…

It’s also worth  checking out T_Visionarium Open City  (pictured) at the Zuiderkerk (an ancient church worth visiting in its own right as Amsterdam’s urban planning center). This installation, running until 22 November, bends the mind  as a 360 degree 3D — complete with glasses — projection of hundreds of films about urbanisation. Browse, watch, remix, repeat. Really quite trippy…

Posted: November 21, 2009 at 10:02 am.

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A Hot Summer in East Berlin

esshats_b2This Thursday head on down to the Filmmuseum for a screening of Heisser Sommer  — an East German musical from 1968.

“Once upon a time in the East, there was a Bloc-buster of a film genre — one that the unrestrained could call the ‘The Red Commie Musical’. These films came packed with tunes, drama, dance, romance, sheer wackiness and — most endearing for the modern Western viewer — a solidly alien conception. Who knew musicals could help sell the idea of a worker’s paradise?…”

Read more here.

Posted: November 4, 2009 at 9:46 am.

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Anacondas vs King Kong vs Godzilla

anakongaThis evening my pals The Anacondas  (stay tuned for their new album, Lost in the Space Age/Bad Buzz,  which I’m working on with them) are performing  in the epic City Archives. They are providing a live soundtrack to the classic Japanese B-movie King Kong vs Godzilla as part of the inspired Rocket Cinema  festival (where you  can also  catch  zZz accompanying Frankenstein in an ancient  church  and DJ Alec Smart doing  Jaws in a swimming pool).

Tonight’s happening is being jumpstarted by the  hilarious short, Godz***A Vs The Netherlands,  by another pal Sietske Tjallingii. Should be cultural. And if you haven’t yet been to the new-ish City Archive, just go: some parts are like entering an Egyptian mummy crypt.   Yes, scary.

Posted: October 29, 2009 at 11:58 am.

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StrangerFestival (2)

BREAKING NEWS… While I was working on the StrangerFestival newspaper (see here),  word got out  about me having been typecast as anchorman in the past. So now this Saturday  17 October, I will be “Richard Ambrosius”, reporting live from  the StrangerFestival’s AwardShow, along with my co-anchor “Claudine Bell” (Esther Mugambi). It will be streamed live from the StrangerFestival website  between 20.30 and 23.00 (CEST). It should be slapstick…

Posted: October 15, 2009 at 8:55 am.

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stranger_posters5StrangerFestival is an online forum for young European  video-makers supported by the European Cultural Foundation. The website has thousands of films  – all of which tell a story in under  five minutes. So check it out!   Everyone between ages  15 and 25 are welcome to upload their creations here. And the cool thing about StrangerFestival is that they run workshops across Europe for youth who don’t usually have access to the required technology so they are creating a truely diverse collection. This week the best of these video-makers are swooping down on Amsterdam for some quality hanging out. With Your Local Heroes, I  worked on  the programme newspaper and it was pretty funny talking/emailing with some of the participants. Two guys — one from Armenia and the other from Poland — could have been  twins in the way they answered   with the same smartass verve. Yep,  perhaps there is a European identity after all… Poster design/art direction  by Jannemieke Oostra.

Posted: October 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm.

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John Cassavettes Retrospective

cassavetesrowlandsBetween 17 September and 4 November, the Filmmuseum is  having a retrospective on everyone’s favorite indie film icon, the writer/actor/director John Cassavetes.

“What would life be like living in a John Cassavetes film? Well there’s one advantage: you’d almost always have a strong drink in your hand. But alas there’s a catch: you will eventually get drunk. Stupid drunk. In fact, chances are that you are an unsympathetic middle-aged alcoholic simmering with raw emotion but forever incapable of expressing it. And that’s always a bummer…

“Life would seem fragmentary, unpolished and often overlong (if not downright boring). There would be few easy answers and plenty of open endings. Many things will be in close-up – especially when you are moaning after being punched, bleeding from getting pricked or experiencing loneliness like a kick in a place where it hurts the most. The dubious lighting will either have you glowing in over-exposure or disappearing into a shadow. The equally shitty sound quality would only have one advantage: background noise may sometimes cover up the fact that you are continuing to talk even though you have nothing to say…” [Read more here.]

Posted: September 15, 2009 at 10:56 am.

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Klik Animation

klikteethy1Animation fans should definitely check out the Klik Amsterdam film festival that is taking place 17-20 September. One of the organisers Luuk van Huet was  a writer for Amsterdam Weekly, and as such I sometimes had to work  to calm his smartass tendencies (my older friends will recognise the absurdity of such a situation). It’s the festival’s  third edition and is screaming with ambition.  A related exhibition, Animation Chiellerie, has already opened with prints and animations by the inspired locals likes of  Erik Kriek,  Lamelos, Martin Draax and Jeroen Blankert

Posted: September 14, 2009 at 8:08 am.

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