Zomertijd

frida

Het is zomertijd
tijd om verliefd te zijn
niet meer gegriefd te zijn
Tijd voor iets nieuws
een nieuwe liefde
met nieuwe vlinders
dwarrelend in mijn buik

Het is zomertijd
tijd van zon en warmte
van armen om me heen
met een ronde schouder
om tegen te leunen
en om te verdrinken
in twee lachende ogen

Het is zomertijd
tijd van simpel plezier
en zonder nadenken
mijn hart weg schenken
om daarvoor in ruil
met me te laten dansen
en handen te laten dwalen

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

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Wat een week!

De afgelopen week was me er eentje.

Om te beginnen waren er de dagen in Parijs voor de OuiShare conferentie die ik samen met een paar wijkgenoten bezocht. Nou ja, eigenlijk alleen de eerste dag want daarna was ik ook wel klaar met die conferentie. Een paar dagen nadien en flink wat ander werk maken dat het beeld dat ik vooraf had en dat ernstig bevestigd werd op die eerste dag alleen maar sterker is geworden. Wat mij betreft was het allemaal ‘much to do about nothing’. Vernieuwingsgraad laag, babbelgehalte hoog, extase afwezig, kunst idem dito en dus eigenlijk niet interessant. Parijs zelf was dat echter des te meer en de twee dagen waarop ik vijentwintig jaar oude herinneringen overschreef met nieuwe, rondzwierf in de stad, Hemingway’s voetsporen poogde te drukken èn een berg foto’s gemaakt heb, zijn voor herhaling vatbaar. Niks fijner dan met een goede camera zwerven in een stad als Parijs op de eerste echte lentedagen. Of het nu ikzelf of Anna Ros was die er gezworven heeft en in La Belle Hortense, Café de Flore en Les Deux Magots zat weet ik nog niet precies.

Alice AnnaCafé de Flore in St. Germain-des-Prés, Parijs

Eenmaal terug was het vol aan de bak met het monteren van Dooie Pier, mijn eerste documentaire die ik samen maak met Arna van der Sloot voor televisie en die aanstaande zaterdag op TV West wordt uitgezonden. Vijentwintig minuten over de pier bij Scheveningen bezien door de ogen van verschillende generaties Scheveningers. Moet hij blijven of moet hij weg? Of wordt het opknappen en wat zijn de herinneringen die ze hebben aan dat markante bouwwerk voor de kust van Scheveningen? Dit is de promotie poster met daaronder de teaser voor de film.

dooie pier poster horizontaal klein

Tussendoor is dan ook nog eens WoordenStorm opgericht. Na een paar jaar in de koelkast gelegen te hebben en niet als bedrijf te functioneren werd het tijd (en bleek het mogelijk) om mijn eenvrouwszaak dan toch maar van de grond te tillen. Het eerste werk is er ook al en dus is de start ‘vliegend’. Mooi en fijn.

De komende dagen zijn wat rustiger en dan kan er gewerkt worden aan de verschillende projecten, van tijdreisgids en toneelstuk tot vertaalwerk en het schrijven aan mijn eigen romans, het voorbereiden van foto exposities en nog zo het een en ander.

Het is en wordt een mooi en druk jaar. Nu maar hopen dat het goed blijft gaan.

© 2013 Alice Anna Verheij

Het is maar een film…

Vannacht keek ik naar de film ‘Exit’. Een Telefilm uitgezonden door de NCRV. De film gaat over Amadou uit Guinee die als jongetje vluchtte voor het geweld in zijn land, zijn broer vermoord zag worden, de huizen afgebrand worden. Amadou heeft in de verhoren tegenstrijdige verklaringen afgelegd. De moord op zijn broer was op een zaterdag, of een zondag. Het kind Amadou wist het niet precies meer.

Later blijkt zijn verhoorambtenaar van Es dat gegeven van onduidelijkheid gebruikt te hebben om zijn asielverzoek af te wijzen. Jaren later. Amadou was bijna gediplomeerd verzorgende inmiddels. De jonge man Amadou is één van een groep van vijf mannen die ‘uitgeprocedeerd’ zijn. Ze worden uitgezet naar Guinee. Op basis van Europese laissez passez’s en zonder de noodzakelijke Guineese documenten. Hij weet, zij weten alle vijf, dat ze in Guinee direct in de gevangenis gegooid zullen worden en waarschijnlijk vermoord.

De film laat het verzet zien van de vijf mannen in een bus op het vliegveld van Rotterdam. Bijna lukt het ze om de uitzetting te voorkomen. Maar van Es, een soort NSB-er apres la lettre, liegt ze uiteindelijk de bus uit waar ze zich in verschanst hadden. De mannen worden met veel geweld overmeesterd en alsnog in het vliegtuig uitgezet. Later zal blijken dat ze in Guinee inderdaad direct de gevangenis in gegaan zijn waarna er niets meer van ze vernomen is.

Amadou en zijn vier kameraden zijn door de staat uitgezet en indirect mogelijk vermoord. Het hele proces rond de uitzetting is een schokkende aaneenschakeling van mensenrechtenschendingen uit naam van de Nederlandse staat. Het meest schokkende is nog wel dat de film gebaseerd is op waarheid. Op feiten. Op situaties die daadwerkelijk voorgekomen zijn en nog steeds voorkomen. Het is een felle aanklacht tegen de onmenselijkheid van het vreemdelingenbeleid en de mentale en fysieke gewelddadigheid van uitzettingen.

Een normaal mens kan niet zonder walging naar de film kijken.

En toch, ‘het is maar een film’ zullen sommigen zeggen. Daarmee het gegeven van deze film en de grauwe werkelijkheid van staatsterreur tegen individuen die vermalen worden door de IND regels en procedures, marechaussee en politiegeweld, leugens en bedrog en de handen van ambtelijke slachters als de IND-er van Es uit de film.

Een normaal Nederlander kan niet zonder diepe schaamte naar de film kijken.

Toch zullen er mensen zijn die blijven volhouden dat de regels gehandhaaft moeten worden, hoe oneerlijk ook en hoe mismaakt de uitvoering van die regels ook geworden is. Ze zullen zwijgend toekijken net als de politiemensen die in de film worden uitgebeeld en die de vuile handen zijn van een overheid die zich vershuild achter wetten en regels waarbij alle menselijkheid opzij is gezet.

Een normaal mens kan niet zonder tranen in de ogen naar de film kijken.

Maar er zullen er altijd zijn die beweren dat het land vol is, dat er geen plek is voor de vreemdeling, de asielzoeker, de uitgeprocedeerde. Mensen die het ongeluk hadden geboren te zijn en geleefd te hebben in een land vol geweld en gevaar en die dus hebben moeten vluchten. Die het overleefd hebben maar alles verloren, inclusief hun rechten. Want die mensenrechten lijken mooi op papier maar ze worden met te groot gemak geschonden  door de uitvoerders van wetten en regels.

Het is maar een film…

Inderdaad. Het is maar een film. Maar wel eentje die mensen zou moeten aanzetten tot nadenken, tot meer menselijkheid en meer begrip voor de situatie waarin zovelen verkeren. Een film die als een grote ‘J’accuse’ tegen de praktijk van uitzettingen mag worden, moet worden gezien. Een film die wat mij betreft door iedereen moet worden gezien. Al is het alleen maar omdat het duidelijk maakt hoe gewelddadig onze ‘rechtsstaat’ werkelijk is. En hoe ver recht verwijderd is van de werkelijkheid.

Maar het is een film.

Die me doet schamen Nederlander te zijn.

Die me boos maakt.

Die me doet walgen.

Die me alle respect voor de Nederlandse rechtsstaat doet verliezen.

Die me met bewondering voor de regie, productie en cast vervult.

En dat bij een ieder zal doen die met open ogen blijft kijken.

‘Exit’ is gemaakt door:

Cast: Emmanuel Ohene Boafo, Romijn Conen, Werner Kolf, Goua Robert Grovogui, Adam Kissequel, Tony Bola-Audu, Hubert Fermin, Juda Goslinga, Sara De Bosschere. Regie & scenario: Boris Paval Conen, producent: KeyFilm, omroep: NCRV

EXIT1

© 2013 Alice Anna Verheij

Haagse Kunstkring

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Sinds vandaag mag ik me werkend lid noemen van de Haagse Kunstkring, afdeling letteren, theater & film. De Haagse Kunstkring is een vereniging van kunstenaars en kunstliefhebbers / kunstkenners met als doel ontmoetingsplek te zijn. De afdeling letteren, theater & film richt zich vooral op schrijvers, dichters, acteurs, regisseurs, mimespelers, choreografen, dansers, cineasten en scenaristen. Met mijn werk val ik in een aantal van deze groepen maar vooral ben ik actief als schrijver, cineast en scenarist.

De Haagse Kunstkring is een vereniging die op eigen middelen drijft en daarmee onder andere een pand op de Denneweg in stand houdt. Ik ben blij dat ik me bij het illustere gezelschap van de leden van de kunstkring kan voegen en hoop dat deze vereniging voor mij een podium kan zijn om mijn kunst te delen met een groter publiek en hoop over niet al te lange tijd te kunnen exposeren of een boekpresentatie te houden met recent werk.

Meer informatie over de Haagse Kunstkring is te vinden op www.haagsekunstkring.nl.

Alice Anna Verheij

Na de opheffing.

Volgens velen houdt ons bestaan hier op de 21e december op. Gelukkig maar, denk ik dan want wat een zooi heeft de mensheid er van gemaakt. Het aantal landen in oorlog is niet substantieel minder dan enige tijd geleden, het lijden van de mensheid ook niet. De verschillen tussen arm en rijk zijn weer groter geworden en daarmee ook de arrogantie van de eerste groep. De ‘have’s’ zijn dominanter dan ooit.

maya-doomsday

Gelukkig is er na 21 december 22 december en daarna nog heel veel andere dagen. De Maya’s hebben volgens sommigen voorspelt dat de wereld ten onder gaat over een week maar zijn dat zelf al vele eeuwen voordien gegaan. Dat hadden ze toch moeten voorzien denk ik dan. Atlantis bestaat vooralsnog alleen in sommige boeken, mooie fantasieën en uiteraard in Hollywood. Stargate Atlantis is inderdaad best aardig om te bekijken hoewel Star Trek toch altijd nog onverslaanbaar blijft.

Maar ik dwaal af.

Het gaat er dus om wat te doen na die ondergang van onze wereld. Aangezien ik tot de circa 7 miljard overlevenden behoor (net als u overigens) heb ik de vrijheid genomen voor volgend jaar toch maar wat plannen te maken. Mocht u twijfelen over die zeven miljard da is het nuttig om hier even te gaan kijken. (Maar let op voor depressiviteit en doemdenken als gevolg van wat u daar leest.) Voor wie mij kent zal duidelijk zijn dat dit uitzonderlijk is. Voor volgend jaar staan de volgende zaken op de rol:

  • de zooi in mijn eigen leven opgeruimd krijgen tot een acceptabel niveau
  • weer achter een eigen voordeur komen te wonen, liefst niet alleen
  • eindelijk mijn dichtbundel ‘Passiezeren’ uitgeven (met 52 gedichten)
  • toch maar een heruitgave doen van de verhalenbundel ‘Genderdans’
  • mijn nieuwe roman ‘Lachrymae’ afschrijven en uitgeven of uit doen geven
  • een geweldig project doen met die andere geweldige schrijfster
  • de documentaire Headwind afmaken in de vorm van vier korte films
  • een nieuwe fototentoonstelling samenstellen met mijn mooiste werk
  • reizen
  • leven
  • liefhebben

Kortom, na het vergaan van de wereld volgende week wordt het nog een druk jaartje voor me als u maar niet denkt dat ik alle rotzooi op ruim die er na volgende week achter blijft.

Alice Anna Verheij

Twee onvergetelijke tentoonstellingen op komst.

Vanaf half september tot na sinterklaas worden er twee onvergetelijke tentoonstellingen gehouden door mij en mijn collega Eveline van de Putte.

Deze slideshow heeft JavaScript nodig.

Van 15 september tot en met 26 oktober is UNFORGOTTEN te zien in de Domkerk in Utrecht. Daarna zal deze tentoonstelling van 10 november tot 7 december te zien zijn in Café & gallerie Quirky in Den Haag.
UNFORGOTTEN is een tentoonstelling met de beste foto’s uit ons bestand van 18.000 foto’s die we in het kader van het Headwind project gemaakt hebben in Nepal, Sikkim (India) en Nederland. De foto’s laten het leven van de vluchtelingen uit Bhutan zien in de kampen in Nepal en gaat in op de resettlement van hun waardoor zij in enkele jaren in diaspora worden gebracht.

  • 15 september – 26 oktober
    Domkerk Utrecht
    Project presentatie en vernissage met live muziek op zondag 23 september om 12.30u.
  • 10 november – 7 december
    Café & galerie Quirky, Tasmanstraat 128 Den Haag
    Vernissage en fundraising dinner (traditioneel Nepalees-Bhutaanse schotel) met live muziek op zaterdag 10 november om 18.00u.
    Reserveren gewenst. Prijs: €20 waarvan €5 gedoneerd wordt aan de Empowerment Foundation voor het Headwind project.


Reserveren is gewenst en kan op 070 3808502 of info@cafequirky.com

* In English *

From September 15 until October 26 UNFORGOTTEN, the photo exhibition, can be seen at the Domchurch in Utrecht. UNFORGOTTEN will be brought there in co-operation with the Domchurch Citypastoraat.
Special presentation of Headwind and UNFORGOTTEN is on Sunday September 23rd at 1 PM.

From November 10 until December 7 UNFORGOTTEN will travel to Cafe & gallery Quirky in the Tasmanstraat 128 in The Hague. The vernissage on Saturday November 10 will be followed by a fundraising dinner at 6 PM. Cost €20 of which €5 is donated to the Empowerment Foundation’s Headwind project. Reervations needed and can be made at 070 3808502 or info@cafequirky.com.

Nachtfilm

Soms is er een film waarna ik vooral de acteur aan het werk zie in plaats van de rol die hij speelt. Dat zijn films die me duidelijk maken waarom ik geen acteur wil zijn.

Vannacht zag ik een film
1 uur 49 minuten eenzaamheid
over een man die vliegt en
zichzelf langzaam verliest

De acteur die leek op hem
als twee druppels water
heeft in zijn rol dezelfde blik
als pas nog op een rode loper

Met gespeelde leegheid
in overtuigend spel gevat
spelen zij elkaar zomaar weg
en is de een de ander echt

Die man die vliegt vervliegt
en die hem speelt bedriegt
vooral toch zichzelf kapot
tot ver na de aftiteling

Acteren kon hij eigenlijk niet
misschien was het daarom
de beste rol omdat hij niet
meer hoefde te doen alsof

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Best film since a long time: ‘Historias que so existem quando lembradas’.

I am as much a film enthousiast and watcher as I am a film maker. Same goes for photography and same goes for novelwriting and poetry. I truly love the art that I make and that I enjoy seeing and experiencing. And of course I have some criteria for what I find beautiful and of high quality. And very rarely I find something that is of such amazing outstanding quality that it makes me humble as an artist.

Even rarer is to watch something, like a movie for instance, that in all aspects is so vlose to my own work and to what I desire to make. Tonight I had such an experience and I feel that – together with what has been going on in the past few weeks – will influence my further work profoundly.

Tonight I got to watch the movie ‘Historias que so existem quando lembradas’ of the Brazilian director Julia Mura who also wrote the script. The film showed me what I wish to be able to make someday in my life. Script, photography, music, coloring, camera handling, editing and directing is absolute perfection. I do not recall to have seen a movie of this quality since ‘Una giornata particolare‘ which is my all time favorite movie.

The story is simple. In a fairy tale village somewhere in Brasil people get old but do not die. They just live their daily lives. One day a young girl comes to the village. She makes pinhole photographs and her being in the village all of a sudden leads to adjustments in the behaviour of the villagers who slowly but gradually accept her presence. She stays with an old lady who bakes the bread for the villagers. An old lady who just wants to die to be reunited with her husband who passed away a long time ago. But the old lady bakes the bread and cannot be missed, so she doesn’t die. The young girl connects with the old lady to in the end set her free and become part of the village herself.

The story is a metaphorical story, a fairy tale about love, about mourning the dead, about growing old and about learning to die, to accept the inevitable at the time that’s most suited. It is a story about the mortality of man.

The director made the best use of the locations and the colors that were at hand to create an atmosphere of tranquility and tenderness. The film is in all its aspects a statement of love. The way it was shot and edited made it into a film that is really moving. The music in the film underlines the story in an amazing way and the photography is very surprising, beautifully stylistic and of extreme quality. I have never ever seen anything like this.

If you have the opportunity to go see this movie, please do so. If you love cinema you just have to.

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Over een zeemeeuw.

Jaren geleden, ik zal zo rond de zeventien jaar zijn geweest, las ik een boek waar ik via de muziek bij uitgekomen was. In die tijd was Neil Diamond een heel bekende zanger en scoorde hij hit na hit. Tegenwoordig maakt hij nog steeds bijzondere muziek met zijn net zo bijzondere en herkenbare stem maar kennen nog maar weinigen hem.

Ik luisterde naar muziek, las boeken en dacht over dingen na waar de meeste van mijn leeftijdsgenoten niet naar luisterden, niet lazen of niet over nadachten. Ik was anders. Net als die zeemeeuw uit het boek. De muziek die me naar het boek bracht was de soundtrack van de filmflop ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull‘. Het boek, een novelle van Richard Bach is een fabel over een zeemeeuw op zoek naar het hogere in het leven en een hogere zelf. Achtereenvolgens komen materialisme, trouw aan jezelf blijven, het voorop stellen van de liefde en ten slotte de onbaatzuchtigheid aan de orde. Stappen om te komen tot een hoger niveau wat misschien wijsheid genoemd kan worden om daarna die wijsheid in te zetten voor de samenleving die je verstoten heeft maar waar je wel uit afkomstig bent.

De fabel laat de weg zien die de zeemeeuw Jonathan aflegt wanneer hij de ambitie heeft om harder en hoger en mooier te vliegen dan welke ander meeuw ook. Hij kan het niet alleen en ontmoet twee andere meeuwen die hem helpen alsof het engelen zijn. Het zijn meeuwen die vliegen omdat ze plezier in het vliegen hebben. Dat in tegenstelling tot de vlucht meeuwen waar hij uit afkomstig is en die geleid wordt door angst, verveling, materialisme en domheid. Hij wordt uitgestoten, verbannen. Dan ondervindt hij hoe het is om niet te leven als een meeuw tussen honderden anderen in de grote groep. Hij leert om zich te sterken door het zijn van die uitzondering. Nog belangrijker leert hij dat er zoveel is dat er niet toe doet maar waar de andere meeuwen naar lijken te streven. En tot slotte leert hij dat hij moet blijven werken aan de liefde voor zichzelf om in staat te zijn om te vergeven. De meeuwen die hem helpen leren hem terug te keren naar zijn eigen waarden en om keuzed te maken. Uiteindelijke keert hij terug naar de vlucht meeuwen en kiest er voor om de samenleving te helpen met wat hij geleerd heeft.

foto: © 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

De fabel is haast religieus van karakter maar onderstreept vooral het belang van het streven naar een hoger plan en een hogere zelf waarbij non conformisme meer dan alleen maar een levenshouding is. De non conformist wordt degene die leert wat er wel toe doet in het leven en wordt daarmee een voorbeeld en inspiratie voor anderen. Het beeld van het verhaal komt nog het dichtste bij het Boeddhisme omdat het er vooral om draait om zelf op een hoger plan te komen tot nut van de wereld. De overeenkomst met de draaipunten in mijn leven zijn opvallend. Nog bijzonderder is voor mij dat ik het boek en de muziek nooit vergeten ben en nog steeds mooi vind. Omwille van de boodschap en de manier waarop die vervat is. De film is het kijken niet zozeer waard tenzij je een liefhebber van ouderwetse technische trucjes bent om radiografisch bestuurde ‘meeuwen’ lange glijvluchten te kunnen laten maken.

De meeste bekende song van de soundtrack is ongetwijfeld ‘Be’ van Neil Diamond. Ik heb het altijd prachtig gevonden ondanks de wat overdadige galm en de bombast. De tekst is sterk en heeft me soms geholpen. Voor mij is de God in de tekst vooral de kracht van de mens om boven zich uit te stijgen. Als ik het zo lees wordt de tekst van religie ontdaan en terug gebracht naar waar het boek om draait: een bemoediging dat anders zijn, de uitzondering zijn, niet negatief is maar juist van belang in een wereld die grijs en grauw en de weg kwijt is. Zo gelezen is die bemoediging bijna veertig jaar nadat de film en de soundtrack verschenen nog van groot belang.

Lost
On a painted sky
Where the clouds are hung
For the poet’s eye
You may find him
If you may find him

There
On a distant shore
By the wings of dreams
Through an open door
You may know him
If you may

Be
As a page that aches for a word
Which speaks on a theme that is timeless
And the one God will make for your day

Sing
As a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the sun God will make for your way

And we dance
To a whispered voice
Overheard by the soul,
Undertook by the heart
And you may know it
If you may know it

While the sand would become the stone
Which begat the spark
Turned to living bone
Holy, holy
Sanctus, sanctus

Be
As a page that aches for a word
Which speaks on a theme that is timeless
While the one God will make for your day

Sing
As a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the one God will make for your way

© Alice Anna Verheij


Come fly with me…

I am lost. Totally. I think I must have time traveled back to the sixties. Thing is I am hooked on Pan Am, the sixties airline series from ABC about Pan American World Airways. Or, to be more specific, about four stewardesses having fun being stewardesses sometime in the imaginary sixties. And to be even more specific about the Maggie Ryan character. Or to be even more specific about Christina Ricci. For the ones who are not familiair with the series, you’re allowed to guess which one of the girls is a genuine turn on in my eyes.

Promo photo for Pan Am, courtesy: ABC Networks

To be honest, I have been in love with the sixties for a long, long time. The industrial design, the cars, the architecture and furniture and of course most of the fashion. I just totally love the look. And, one of the greatest fashion designs are of course the stewardess uniforms of the airlines in that era. With Pan Am gloriously in bright blue with white accessories. At that time a lot more attractive than the KLM uniforms which were in equivalent blue but not as sexy as Pan Am had them designed.

I suppose I was just born some 25 years too late. Not that I would have lucky – and gorgeous – enough for a stewardess career but hey, a girl may heve her dreams. Even when supposed to be too mature for this sort of follies. Because I would lie if I wouldn’t just want to have one of these uniforms just for the fun of it. Anyway, I love the series. The storylines are crappy and superficial but frankly, I don’t care as long as the visual part is as it is.

As it is tv and as we are some fifty (OMG!) years later than the sixties we all know that the whole thing has little or nothing to do with reality. Apart from the stewardesses. Come on, we all know that Schiphol Airport even today is a kind of lesbian candy shop (if the guys who read this might think they’re the only ones who dig these girls than wake up fellowa, you’ve got competition there).

Anyway, I would love it when fashion designers watch these series closely and adjust their designs to be more sixties like and return to more feminine attire for daily use. Because what’s in the shops cannot get me enthusiastic at all after watching old sixties films and television series. It’s the timeless quality of sixties fashion that was by the way not exclusively designed for women with the bodies of fifteen year old anorexia patients but for genuine women. With curves and all and with sizes that are more human (the television series unfortunately limits itself to small size starlets). I prefer the richness of the Marilyn Monroe type of woman who by todays standards would be regarded as too short, too fat and physically not equipped for high fashion. Which implicates the lack of taste of most modern day designers and fashionistas. Still, maybe some designers will try to make use of what these retro television series and their huge success promises: hard cash for the sixties experience.

So, if anyone has the power to beam me back to the sixties or get me into a fitting (which might be a challenge!) uniform like the ones above, please call or email! In the meanwhile I will just do with my own sixties stuff that I have in my closet.

Alice Anna © 2012

Ich liebe jeden, der mich gefällt.

There are woman from long ago that I admire. A few years a go a dear friend gave me a framed photograph of one who has become some sort of muse for me: Zarah Leander. The strong hearted and beautiful Swedish actress and singer who made such brilliant performances in German films in the early 20th century. Her real name was Sara Stina Herdberg. During the second world war she decided to stay in Berlin as she worked for Hitler’s regime albeit without publicly taking sides. Early in her career and even during the war she did however publicly denounced the Nazi’s by singing strong anti Nazi songs in a cabaret. But she was contracted by UfA, Hitler’s propaganda film company, a contract she took for the money. In 1943 however she returned to Sweden and was possibly unjustly controversial for the rest of her life because of her decision to stay in Germany during the war in the city she loved so much. First and foremost she was an actress, secondly Swedish and thirdly a Berlin woman who could not drag herself away from Germany that had been so good for her in the 1920’s and 1930’s. A choice that did not turn out well for her but in which she was not unique.

In spite of her disputable choice to stay in Berlin it is very obvious that she was a great actress and singer and her performances were no less that Marlene Dietrich’s who was in many aspects comparable except for the wartime choice they made. Zarah Leander lived until the end of the seventies and her career never really took off after the war, she was tainted in the eyes of many.

Zarah Leander, 1936

Still, I see and hear an actress with a great voice and a woman who was in her own right strong. Some of the songs she sang in films are amazing. Particularly this one where a woman takes position and denounces dependency on the love of only one (man). She tells the audience that she decides to choose her lover in spite of the heartbreak the previous one caused. She is the one who decides and she does not become dependent on that single person because ‘there are so many in this world and I love the one I like’. It is this attitude that the song reflects that is close to my heart and the very reason I will always permit myself to fall in love. And honestly, I love the songs of Zarah Leander. This one by the way comes from the film ‘Es war ein rauschende ballnacht’ made in 1939, the lyrics are by Theo Mackeben. I’ll guess I’ll translate it into Dutch some day soon.

Alice © 2012

Es ist ja ganz gleich, wen wir lieben
Und wer uns das Herz einmal bricht
Wir werden vom Schicksal getrieben
Und das Ende ist immer Verzicht

Wir glauben und hoffen und denken,daß
einmal ein Wunder geschieht.
Doch wenn wir uns dann verschenken
Ist es das alte Lied

Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen
Es gibt auf Erden nicht nur den Einen
Es gibt so viele auf dieser Welt
Ich liebe jeden der mir gefällt
Und darum sollst du heut mir gehören
ich will dir Treue und Liebe schwören
Wenn ich auch fühle, es muss ja Lüge sein
Ich lüge auch und bin Dein !

Wir kamen von Süden und Norden
Mit Herzen so fremd und so stumm
So bin ich die deine geworden
Und ich kann dir nicht sagen warum
Denn als ich mich an dich verloren
Hab ich eines Andern gedacht
So ward die Lüge geboren
Schon in der ersten Nacht

Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen
Es gibt auf Erden nicht nur den Einen
Es gibt so viele auf dieser Welt
Ich liebe jeden der mir gefällt
Und darum will ich heut dir gehören
Du sollst mir Treue und Liebe schwören
Wenn ich auch fühle, es muss ja Lüge sein
Ich lüge auch und bin Dein !

The story of a longshot.

I am making my first documentary and am way into the post production stage of it. Editing the thing and grabbing footage from all over my library of over 50 hours of footage and glueing it into a story. I am not an experienced film maker and not a experienced camera operator so with the editing in Final Cut Pro X (thank you Apple for this amazing piece of software) on my Macbook Pro and a second 21″ screen I just have to find ways and tricks to cover up the imperfection that I see that is all around.
Of course the whole film is made with financial restrictions and therefore even the label ‘low budget’ would be insufficient. We’re working on a ‘no budget’ basis. Still, the film is going to be finished in a couple of weeks and it is going to be awesome. As things are now it seems that I can keep the viewer away from knowing with how litle means this film is made.

In my film are a couple of medium to long shots. Filmed with my Sony HVR-HD1000E (with some added support of a Canon 60D DLSR HD cam for some Dutch footage) mainly from my shoulder or in dogs view carrying the thing I’ve been trying to use a tripod as less as possible. Because for a documentary style film I simply prefer the images with the additional physical inbalance of the camgirl working with the camera. It kind of adds some quality to the work in stead of taking it away. Often I find tripod shots looking a bit ‘dead’.

As a camgirl I have my heroes. One of them is Peter Robertson, the steadycam operator that made the epic 5’30” longshot in the film ‘Atonement‘. A long shot that is so amazing in composition and choreography and made with such skill that it is incomprehensible for most people how it was made. Here’s that long shot. Please watch it closely and understand that no cutting was done and only he traditional digital editing has been done to make it like it is. To my opinion an Oscar winning performance of Peter. After you’ve watched it, please read his description of how he made it that I found on http://www.steadyshots.org, a website dedicated to the work of Steadycam operators. But first enjoy a drama in just over 5 minutes unfolding at the beach of Dunkirk. After that read what Peter Robertson says about how it was created.

In the meanwhile I’ll be back at my editing table.

Alice © 2012

Atonement
“Beach at Dunkirk”, By Peter Robertson

An incredible example of production coordination at its finest. Perhaps only bested by the 90 minute shot of Russian Ark – in terms of choreography and coordination anyway. There are elements of gunshots, animal cues, pyrotechnics, vehicles, special effects, and more that all had to both work perfectly and be timed perfectly. …not to mention the majority of the footing was sand.

Operator’s Commentary
(Taken from an email from Peter Robertson to Luis Puli.)

The one-take Steadicam Dunkirk shot in Atonement may well prove to be the emblematic scene that the film will be remembered for. However, this was only one of a series of carefully crafted sequences that we, as a camera department with myself as the main camera operator, were asked to create in response to Joe Wright’s powerful and uncompromising vision.

Nevertheless, this was certainly the toughest shot to achieve, physically and logistically, coming in the last week of a long shoot and at the end of a day when we rehearsed many times with and without camera. The concentration levels needed to remember every beat, twist and turn of the shot, where to follow the actors movements, when to remember a step or obstacle whilst holding the shot composition compounded the physical demands of carrying a heavy camera.

When Joe (Wright) and Seamus (McGarvey) first approached me with the idea of shooting the Dunkirk scene as a one-take Steadicam move I knew that it would take every ounce of my technical and physical Steadicam nouse from the past twenty years of operating to achieve. There would be no plan B to fall back on, with no wiping off and on the backs of background actors or objects to create edit points should a take prove imperfect.

Born partially out of financial necessity–I believe there was only enough money in the budget for 1,300 extras for one or two days–it was, nevertheless, a daring piece of filmmaking that challenged the gods. It was conceived to place the audience physically and emotionally inside the nightmarish vision of Dunkirk.

The scene tells the story of Robbie Turner played by James McAvoy attempting to return to his love Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) from the doomed beaches of Dunkirk. He is dying and engulfed by the living hell of one of World War II’s most tragic episodes. It is essentially Robbie’s nightmare that the camera describes, restlessly moving around a scene, sometimes bizarre (soldiers skinny dipping), sometimes macabre (cavalry horses being shot) and sometimes painfully moving (a choir singing on a bandstand). The uninterrupted flow of images drift in front of our eyes like a hallucination from a Bosch painting or, in the case of the dying horses, like the contorted images from Picasso’s Guernica. The shot, unedited, has the power of a real nightmare with its bizarre associations. We sense that these events are all happening in the same physical space that we travel through as an engaged audience, not as a series of juxtaposed and montaged images that we view as outsiders. The camera not only shows the desperation and pain felt by the dying Robbie as he begins to realise that he may never see his love again but also the plight of a huge mass of stranded soldiers who desperately seek to return to their lives and loves. As such, the scene transcends the simple story of one individual’s tale of lost love and evokes the sentiments of a great anti-war statement.

Technicalities

We shot Atonement on the Panavision system in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, using the Panaflex XL on the Steadicam with Primo lenses. However, the Dunkirk sequence itself posed many extra problems for us in the camera department. Whichever way the shot was timed on recces it always came to just under five minutes, ruling out the use of a conventional 400ft magazine. Our excellent 1st AC, Carlos de Carvahlo, pointed out that we could use a Panavision 500ft magazine, which had originally been produced for hand holding the earlier Panavision GII camera. Whilst heavier than a modern lightweight 400ft magazine, it was still preferable to a 1,000ft magazine, which was inconceivable on a shot like this. The extra 100ft gave us the time length we needed for the shot.

Framing and composition posed a few problems too. The shot demanded a wider framing for the architecture of the set at certain times and a closer framing on faces that would loom into the lens at others. Again, we ignored convention and opted for the Panavision 17.5-34mm short zoom, which by remoting its function gave Seamus the option to zoom in shot. This lens gave us the optical range to see the set in all its glory without distorting the faces too much at close quarters. Seamus and I choreographed these zooms at moments in the shot when the natural movement of the Steadicam disguised them to the viewer’s eye.

These decisions all had a bearing on the final configuration and weight of the Steadicam. By remoting all of the lens and camera functions it meant that I was carrying three motors (focus, iris and zoom) as well as the extra weight of the magazine. Add to this two video transmitters, one to the director’s monitor and one to Seamus who needed a picture to gauge his zoom and iris pulls and you have an overall payload that weighed more than a standard airline baggage allowance.

The next problem was how to fly this around the beach with weightless elegance, covering close to quarter of a mile in the process and achieving the precision framing that the director demanded. It was not possible without a swift course of steroids and a metal spine implant to attempt the whole shot on foot. It was obvious that at certain times I would have to ride on a vehicle to cover the ground at speed and keep up with the action. I chose to ride a “mule” provided by Bickers Action Vehicles. This is a small open-backed vehicle with a rear-facing platform, much like a golf cart. A low step was rigged so that I could slide off the back when I needed to continue the shot on foot. I used this for the first part of the shot when the three main characters are striding along the beach past the horses being shot. The step off the “mule’ comes at the rear of the beached Thames barge, where a pause was built into the action to help disguise the step-off.

The shot continued, on foot, up the beach, onto the promenade and around the bandstand. After the bandstand I stepped down via a ramp, cunningly disguised by the art department as a pile of bomb debris and sat back onto a rickshaw rig, expertly gripped by Gary Hutchings and Dean Morris. This was then steered backwards through the chaotic scenes of soldiers riding a merry-go-round and disabling heavy artillery to the beginning of the pier. Here, with the help of a line of carefully placed soldiers filing past camera to once again disguise my step-off, I travelled, on foot, for the final part of the shot up some steps and past a line of soldiers to look back on the mayhem of Dunkirk.

I hope this demonstrates how the whole shot was planned and executed like a military operation in itself and stands, as often these endeavours do, as a testament to the great teamwork it took to achieve. Forget Dunkirk, if I hadn’t had the support of such a brilliant crew the sequence would have been the movie’s Waterloo.

Myth and Legend

The final take used in the movie was Take 3. We attempted a fourth but my timing was off and I missed my footing on the steps leading up to the bandstand. In a shot such as this, once the camera stops dead the shot is pretty much unusable. I realised, having given my all in the rehearsals (two of which were completed fully loaded with the camera) and three previous takes that I didn’t have enough juice in the tank to complete a fifth. It felt like I had just performed a ten-hour gym session and, in hindsight, I consider myself lucky to have even completed three takes. Much has been publicised in print about how the Steadicam operator “collapsed” or even “fell over” which was claimed in some reports. All slightly melodramatic representations of what actually happened but I suppose that every movie needs its myth and legend.

The beach Steadicam team were:
Joe Wright Director
Josh Robertson 1st AD
Seamus McGarvey, BSC Director of Photography
Peter Robertson, GBCT Steadicam / A Camera Operator
Carlos de Carvalho, GBCT A Camera 1st Assistant Camera
Jennie Paddon A Camera 2nd Assistant Camera
Rawdon Hayne B Camera 1st Assistant Camera
Iain Mackay B Camera 2nd Assistant Camera
Gary Hutchings, GBCT Key Grip
Dean Morris Grip
Chris Macaleese Camera Trainee
Simon Thorpe Grip Trainee
Nick Kenealy Video Assist
Clive Bickers “Mule”

Movies That Matter.

If you haven’t been there, go there!

Movies That Matter is on in The Hague until next Wednesday when the party hit’s the theatre. And you better don’t miss it if you care for great filming, documentaries and human rights. All in an amazing mix. And next year there will be another Dutch film there as far as I am concerned.

That is also where my only criticism is to this wonderful cinematographic event. Too few Dutch films and too many films focussing on the Arabian Spring, the Middle East, North Africa and Iran / Iraq. As if there isn’t really happening much concerning human rights elsewhere on this beautifully godforsaken planet. Sure, there are films from other areas like China and elsewhere but it seems that the programming this year is a little too much influenced by the usual suspects. It is how it works, when there’s a hot spot on the globe you only have to wait for a year or so and all the film festivals get filled with documentaries about these regions. It would have been nice to see just a little more diversity.

Still, it’s a great little festival. One cinema and one theatre, being next door neighbours, showing great films from great film makers on topics that are important. In this time of Voice of Whateverland, X-Factor and all that crap it’s good, no essential, that festivals like these are there. Quite simply to keep the minds of the people in focus concerning the state of the world. Now that even my country, formerly a decent and social country, has become xenophobic and selfish (who the heel do they think they are that they have the right to even talk about cutting development aid funding) it is so clear to me that we need to grab the attention on what really matters in life. And that is not ecnomical crisis but that’s life itself. And where that is made impossible I can assure you people will loose dignity and decency. And when that happens it not religion but the arts that are the last straw for human values and human rights. Actually, looking at many films in the programma it is ever so clear that it is most of the time religion that is the cause of the problems.

So, do yourself a favor and go there. Watch some movies, talk to people. Get involved and when you’re at the flyer stand near the entry of the Filmhuis cinema, get yourself a Headwind flyer! If not this year, I hope to see you next year. In a seat watching my film.

Alice © 2012

New flyer for Headwind available for immediate distribution.

In a last CALL FOR ACTION the Headwind production team is working together with the new eu1.tv pan European tv channel (available on cable and internet) by Ziggo and UPC. In the coming week both the new trailer as a new way of crowdfunding will be published on the eu1.tv website. To support that effort we will distribute flyers on the Movies That Matter film festival starting off in The Hague on March 22 at the Filmhuis.

Alice
director and producer of Headwind 

This is the flyer:

Short trailer of Headwind released today.

Today the short trailer of Headwind is released with a call for support and funding.
More information about the film can be found at http://www.headwindfilm.com.
The trailer will be published on http://www.eu1.tv too later today.

We still need substantial funding for the completion of this film.

Alice
director of Headwind

The Artist… what a movie!

Rightfully the Oscars this year went to a film about the magic of movie, the amazing personal lives of actors from a past movie-era. In black and white and without speech. A black and white silent movie in 2012. What a great thing! I totally love it ‘The Artist‘.

This is the very definition of what ‘Less is More’ really can be artistically.

Go watch it when it’s where it belongs: in the cinema. Not on a tv screen or a computer, but on the big screen!

‘The Storm’ (2) or ‘Back Home?’

Deze slideshow heeft JavaScript nodig.

Namaste my dear readers and friends. I wish you all a great New Year.

I Know, I know, I’m a bit late in doing that but as you know I’ve been away for a month to a region where modern technology is something that is not available constantly. And (I only dare to whisper that) I actually haven’t written much in that month. except for some love letters and the occasional FaceBook status update. But I’m back home. That is to say, my Dutch home for I have during my travel found a new home to live. A Nepalese heart where I feel loved and safe. I won’t reveal nor bother you with the details so let’s just say I’m hooked up with a wonderful nice woman who I love dearly. So I now have another ‘home away from home’ in the south of Nepal, the eastern Terai region to be exact.

The storm I wrote about last month has eased. The questions I had while leaving the Netherlands have been answered and many decision has been taken. The most important one being that I desire to lead a splint life. Half of it (or more) in Nepal, half (or less) of in in the Netherlands. The rest is just the execution of that desire. On the flight back the most vivid sign that such it a good decision is that we faced heave storms over de middle east making the flight slow and the flight time long. We faced ‘headwind’ while returning from the last shooting trip for my film ‘Headwind’. Actually, OUR film ‘Headwind’ as the positions in the production team have changed. Making ‘Headwind’ is no longer my personal task and responsibility, it has become a group thing now with a co0directing producer and a co-pruducing director.

Our trip to Sikkim to shoot mountain footage and travel through the earthquake struck area of the south central Himalayan state of Sikkim has been successful. We’ve also seen the teagardens of Darjeeling and the mists over Pokhara. We visited the now familiar places in Kathmandu, Patan, Pashupatinath and Boudha and travelled by bus, mini taxi, tourist taxi, airplanes, four wheel drives, local busses and riksha’s. We revisited the refugee camps near Damak, the now abaondoned and somewhat spooky Goldhap camp and we talked to and interviewed many. We visited the ex hunger strikers in Beldangi who have risked their lives for the unregistered people in the camps. We stayed at the farm of my love just outside Damak village in between the now still empty rice fields in between fields of amber colored mustard.

And we never had any disagreement or quarrel. Everything happened just like it should. We delivered financial aid to vulnerable non registered, brought media equipment to motivated and eager journalists in the exiled community and brought the photo’s from our exhibition (the one in the Netherlands) back to where they originated. And it all went well.

So here I am in my European home. Feeling happy with what we did living in anticipation of the next few months in which the film will finally become reality. Feeling sad about the love that I had to leave behind (but will see again soon). Making plans for the next journey, the publication of a number of books within three months and feeling dislocated as my heart is still out there.

In the coming months the following results will finally come from the project I started almost one and a half year ago:

  1. the English language novel ‘Headwind, Laxmi’s Story’
  2. a photobook about elderly people in the Himalaya‘s
  3. a photobook about the Bhutanese exiles living in diaspora
  4. the documentary ‘Headwind’
  5. a photo exhibition about resettling in the Dutch community
  6. a cd with music from the film
    and many, other things…

It’s going to be a busy time. After that time I will travel back to Nepal and God willing stay there for five months to live with my love and to promote and sell the results of our work. To show the film to the people who have become my inspiration and are part of it.

For now I’ll just focus on the work. Writing here will be less intense as it has been last month simply because of all the things I have to do for the project that not only produces these wonderful things and art but that has also changed my life and the life of some others working on it.

For the record: we’ve produced almost twelve thousand photos this journey, seven hours of footage and millions bits of memories. So much happens when filming and so memory memories build upon each other. In the end it feels like an epic journey and maybe that’s what it was.

So, namaste my dear western friends, I’m back. For a while. And for my eastern friends I can only say ‘pheri bethaula’.

Alice © 2012

Advocating human rights.

I never had the intention to become another human rights advocate. And over the past year I have tried not to become one. To stay ‘objective’. Because that is what a documentary maker is supposed to stay. But in the end it proved impossible. The breaking point was reached when I got the news about the women on hunger strike in the refugee camp that I have been able to visit frequently earlier this year.

I still think that I am objective on the issues regarding the exiles (refugees is not a very good word because of the passiveness that it pushes upon the people) from Bhutan who have been living in these horrendous camps in the south east Terai in Nepal. Sure, these camps are in some ways not worse than poor rural communities in Nepal but it is the lack of freedom, the barbed wire and Armed Police Forces presence, food rationing and impossibility of integration with the surrounding Nepali society that is so connected through historical ties that bothers me. Visiting a refugee camp in Nepal is an experience unforgettable in a persons life. And for some a life changing event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My life has changed in the last year. I set out to write a book and became a film maker. And even that might very well prove to be just another stop along the road. Because when I realized that people who are not only an exile but also are being disregarded by the government of the country they fled to and by the international community which is present at the scene by the UNHCR representative I also realized that for me it is impossible to be a bystander. Hence, there is no way not be some sort of activist.

My activism is not translated into street protests or other types of public protest. I choose to be the artist activist who uses art to convey a message. Mostly to the general public but sometimes dedicated to politicians, human rights organizations or other NGO’s. I prefer to keep communicating on the personal level. This website is my main channel for that but there are many more ways to advocate human rights. My film Headwind and the connected photo exhibitions, my novels and opportunities for presentations and lectures are all ways for me to advocate the rights of the people I am concerned with. It is a task that I’ve taken on only because I could not prevent myself to do so. Simply because I would not like to look into the mirror and see the face of someone who bailed out when things became complicated or intense.

Does that make me a good person? I don’t think so. I prefer to understand that it makes me a human being. Because in the process of becoming more and more activist in my work I had to let go of those things that are in my views dehumanizing most other people. Things like wealth and possessions, things like status in society and other crap that consumes people attention. They are all preventing us to live for real. So I guess that deciding to take the activist route as a writer / film maker is in essence selfish.

What does this all mean? Well first of all shifting priorities. Shifting in a sense that surviving western culture which is now some sort of daily struggle is only instrumental to be able to do what really matters to me. It means that I obviously need to travel a lot in the coming years so getting attached to a domicile is not smart. So I won’t do that. It also means living a rather minimal life in terms of things and stuff. So I reduced that. It also means that having good equipment available is key to my work. And good equipment means good computers and cameras. Computers for the writing, photo and film production and managing my work. A good digital photo camera but also a good analogue camera to make more artistically challenging photos and above all a great videocam for shooting good quality footage. It took me a few years to obtain all that an get my travel kit in order. The last one in the oldest also: a great analogue camera with a 4.5×6 large film format.

On a different level a choice like this means that friendships get to another level. I can only work with others if there is a friendship bond and I am so lucky in that. My best friends know me and I suppose they understand me. They are not average, they are special to me. Even more now since there might be longer times that we can’t see each other. It doesn’t make them less important for me but rather more important.  Doing what I do and living the life I do means that true friends are key. They are the ones that keep me on my feet when times are hard and morale low. They inspire me.

Alls of this also means that I am slowly getting the understanding that doing what I do means running it all like it is a business. With planning, much and sometimes complicated communication, risks and risk mitigation and a lot of seemingly unrelated activities that are in the end important to get the results I want to get. It forces me to become more and more a world citizen and less a Dutch citizen. Because my playfield has expanded outside that small country in Europe. My work brings me everywhere on the globe if necessary. It is a way of living that I am learning that. And the more I dive into it without hesitation, the better is gets. I know that it makes me politically vulnarable and mediawise visible. Well, so be it. And as of today, there is this bag standing in my room. Packed with the essentials because I am ready to go.

In a kind of shorthand way this pretty much describes it: http://www.wikihow.com/Become-an-Activist-Journalist

Alice © 2011

How beautiful Bhutan is…

A film not made by me – I wish – but by the German film maker Dominique Müller who visited Bhutan. A film without narration but with great images of that amazing country that one day I hope to be able to visit when freedom and democracy have arrived.

Hopefully this explains my interest in Bhutan and the Bhutanese and the other countries and peoples in the Himalaya region.

Alice