Netherlands Cinema

According to Itypeusa, the cinema entered the Netherlands in 1896, the year in which the first public screening took place. Subsequently, the first events that had as protagonists the royal family and in particular Queen Guglielmina, the privileged subject of numerous documentary shots, were filmed. From the very beginning, however, Dutch production has been taking care of the reproduction of reality, rather than of making fictional stories; this interest would not have waned even after other cinemas began to frequent the story of pure invention. The first to understand that cinema was an art destined to be loved by a large part of the population were the brothers Willy and Albert Mullens who, under the pseudonym of Albert Frères, toured the country with a traveling projection system. Viewers were offered products made by their company – footage of events, views, short farces – without detaching themselves from an elementary language. Elsewhere, however, the cinema was exploding, numerous companies were born and many cinemas were settling in large cities. Thus the Mullens brothers aligned themselves with the trend by consolidating the family business and giving life to one of the most famous Dutch production houses, Haghe Film (1914). Alongside this company, Maurits H. Binger’s Filmfabriek Hollandia established itself, which in ten years of activity proved to be particularly attentive to the dramatic genre. Among the approximately sixty films produced, we must remember Binger’s Op hoop en zegen (1918, Sperando in bene), one of the most important Dutch works ever made. In the same years he also had the opportunity to make himself known and appreciated the talent of the producer and director Theo Frenkel. But it was above all the documentary that took hold, a genre in which many young authors emerged and among them Joris Ivens, who in 1927, together with the writer Mannus Franken, founded the Filmliga, an organization which, in addition to promoting the viewing of great cinema masterpieces, produced interesting documentaries. It dates back to 1928 De brug (The bridge) by Ivens, shot in collaboration with Franken, a film that, made with theoretical intentions, proved to be an unexpected success. Countless masterpieces signed from this moment on by the master, who largely alone contributed to consolidating the already solid reputation of the Dutch documentary school. But if Ivens remained active for a long time creating works of great quality, no less important was the role played by other filmmakers such as Max de Haas, Bert Haanstra, Herman van der Horst, Johan van der Keuken. documentary field allowed the PB’s cinematography to establish itself in the world, on the other hand it slowed down the production of fictional works, which throughout the 1930s and 1940s was limited to farcical comedies such as Jonge harten (1936, Young Hearts) by Charles Huguenot van der Linden and Heinz Josephson or Pygmalion (1937) by the German-born director Ludwig Berger. Brilliant films but destined for national releases also due to the difficulty of exporting products shot in a language practically unknown to the rest of Europeans. Between 1940 and 1945 the German invasion of the country prevented the development of Dutch cinema. In the following decade, the dominance of Hollywood films was added to make the situation more problematic,

Thanks to an unprecedented state commitment, which granted funds to support film production, and with the birth in 1958 of the Nederlandse Film Academie (Dutch Film Academy), a group of young filmmakers particularly interested in making fictional feature films began to establish themselves. The films produced were very personal and unattractive works, but witnessed an awakening of Dutch filmmakers. These include Bert Haanstra (Fanfare, 1958, Fanafara), Fons Redemakers (Dorp aan de rivier, 1958, The village on the river, Oscar nomination in 1959; Makkers staakt uw wild geraas, 1960, known as That joyous eve, Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1961), Adriaan Ditvoorst, author of the interesting Paranoia (1967), Pim de La Parra and Wim Verstappen, who co-wrote De minder gelukkige terugkeer van Joszef Katýs naar het land van Rembrandt (1966, Josef Katus’ unfortunate return to Rembrandt’s country), directed only by the latter. Experimental, complex films that made themselves noticed in the festival circuits, also favoring attention to other national works with the effect of stimulating young directors to produce, albeit at low cost. It was following these impulses that in the seventies many new authors were reported: Philo Bregstein with Dingen die niet voorbijgaan (1970, Things that do not pass), Nouchka van Brakel with Het debuut (1977, The debut), Erik van Zuylen and Marja Kok with Opname (1979, Ricovero), Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Festival in 1980. The success of The unfortunate return of Josef Katus to Rembrandt’s country), directed only by the latter. Experimental, complex films that made themselves noticed in the festival circuits, also favoring attention to other national works with the effect of stimulating young directors to produce, albeit at low cost. It was following these impulses that in the seventies many new authors were reported: Philo Bregstein with Dingen die niet voorbijgaan (1970, Things that do not pass), Nouchka van Brakel with Het debuut (1977, The debut), Erik van Zuylen and Marja Kok with Opname (1979, Ricovero), Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Festival in 1980. The success of Josef Katus’ unfortunate return to Rembrandt’s country), directed only by the latter. Experimental, complex films that made themselves noticed in the festival circuits, also favoring attention to other national works with the effect of stimulating young directors to produce, albeit at low cost. It was following these impulses that in the seventies many new authors were reported: Philo Bregstein with Dingen die niet voorbijgaan (1970, Things that do not pass), Nouchka van Brakel with Het debuut (1977, The debut), Erik van Zuylen and Marja Kok with Opname (1979, Ricovero), Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Festival in 1980. The success of who made themselves noticed in the festival circuits, also favoring attention to other national works with the effect of stimulating young directors to produce, albeit at low cost. It was following these impulses that in the seventies many new authors were reported: Philo Bregstein with Dingen die niet voorbijgaan (1970, Things that do not pass), Nouchka van Brakel with Het debuut (1977, The debut), Erik van Zuylen and Marja Kok with Opname (1979, Ricovero), Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Festival in 1980. The success of who made themselves noticed in the festival circuits, also favoring attention to other national works with the effect of stimulating young directors to produce, albeit at low cost. It was following these impulses that in the seventies many new authors were reported: Philo Bregstein with Dingen die niet voorbijgaan (1970, Things that do not pass), Nouchka van Brakel with Het debuut (1977, The debut), Erik van Zuylen and Marja Kok with Opname (1979, Ricovero), Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Festival in 1980. The success of Paul Verhoeven with Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange), in which some profiles of young people differently involved in the vicissitudes of Holland occupied by the Germans are drawn with skilful and sensitive trait. After the imaginative and sensual Spetters (1980; Spetters or Spruzzi), Verhoeven achieved international notoriety with the daring ‘black’ comedy De vierde man, also known as The fourth man (1983; The fourth man), which The gates of Hollywood The definitive exit from the crisis of ideas took place in the 1980s, although a richer production in terms of numbers and quality was matched by a drop in spectators across the country. Fortunately, however, the interest in national cinema has increased thanks to directors who have been able to renew themes and languages ​​to establish themselves well beyond the borders of the Netherlands. This is the case of Orlow Seunke, who has signed two films with a strong emotional impact: De smaak van water (1982; The taste of water), Leone d’ordo for the first work at the Venice Film Festival, chronicle of the fortuitous discovery of a girl walled up alive in a secret room from the family and the friendship that ends up binding her to her savior, and Pervola (1985), whose protagonists are two brothers in constant contrast forced to find themselves in the country of origin for the funeral of the father. Jos Stelling also stood out with two works, De illusionist (1984; The garden of illusions) and De wisselwachter (1986; The swinger), both characterized by a exasperated formal attention and a superlative technique. The veteran Rademakers, author of the remarkable historical drama De aanslag (1986; Profondo Nero), set during the Second World War, also obtained considerable success with the public and big box office, which in 1987 obtained the Oscar for best foreign film.

During the nineties, the positive criticisms collected by directors at international festivals, the esteem on the part of professionals and the affection of the public were sufficient to avert the crisis that instead hit almost all other European countries. Thus, while admissions to cinemas elsewhere fell rapidly and the market returned to being dominated by American products, the Dutch production resisted without losing spectators, managing in some cases to achieve extraordinary revenues. In 1996, therefore, a new Oscar for the foreign film arrived; the winner was Antonia (1995; Antonia’s tree), an all-female saga that tells the intricate events of a matriarchal family starting after the war. The author, Marleen Gorris, thanks to the prestigious award, she then emigrated to the United States and then to France to make films that have not, however, achieved great results. In 1998 another Oscar came for Mike van Diem’s ​​Karakter (1997; Charachter – Excellent bastard), a story centered on the existential redemption of a young man abandoned by his father at an early age. Together with the latter, other authors have emerged and have had the opportunity to be appreciated in festivals such as Venice, Cannes, Berlin: Alex van Warmerdam (De jurk, 1996, The dress), Karim Traýdia (De poolse bruid, 1998, The Polish bride), Paula van der Oest (Moonlight, 2002), Ben Sombogaart (De tweeling, 2002, The twins). A sign that Dutch cinema, although characterized by a very limited annual production.

Netherlands Cinema