Backlight: Cultural Barbarians
A new generation of artists is fighting this trend and creating explicitly activist art connected to a changing world.
A new generation of artists is fighting this trend and creating explicitly activist art connected to a changing world.
In the most extraordinary landscape parks art and nature merge. In a quest around the world Veen visits impressive sculpture gardens full with spectacular art objects of internationally renowned artists, like Anish Kapoor, Richard Serra, Sol LeWitt, Damien Hirst, James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson.
Vinyl records, rehearsal rooms, 1970s blouses and ditto music, lots of music: those are the main ingredients in the lives of Sia (15), Bas (14) and Vince (13). Best friends for many years now, together they form the psychedelic rock band Morgana’s Illusion. But recently everything changed: Sia suffers from a depression, so Bas and Vince have to rehearse without him. That alone is very boring, but it also means the future of the band is at stake. Will they ever be on stage again, the three of them?
‘My Matthäus’ is a film about impassioned amateur performers singing Bach’s Matthäus Passion. Their intimate stories about separation, suffering and consolation bring the Biblical themes back to human measures. The choirboy with a cracking voice, the man whos’ life is centering on getting older and saying goodbye, and the woman who found comfort in singing after a great personal loss. All individuals have their own connection to the Matthäus Passion. Their moving stories combined with the music as its décor make it hard to ever listen to the Matthäus in the same way again.
VPRO Free Sounds travelled to Budapest, city of birth of the director and composer Iván Fischer who, with his Budapest Festival Orchestra, is working on the registration of Gustav Mahler’s intractable 7th Symphony.
The series focusses on both the work and the personal life of the highly driven, passionate and fanatic maestro Jaap van Zweden, the Dutch conductor who was appointed the next music director of the New York Philharmonic this januari. A camerateam followed him around the world for a full year, a year that turned out to become a crucial year in the life of the maestro, both professionally and personal.
Film maker Carmen Cobos (Imperfect Harmony, NELSONS N˚5) presents an insightful portrait of the Milanese conductor Daniele Gatti. The Italian will be taking up the position of the Seventh Maestro of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam (RCO).
With the relics of a human life – objects found in a flea market – Italian artist Paolo Ventura fights the fleeting nature of life. In his world built out of cardboard and poster paint, he gives these found objects new life.
A documentary about the Rumanian-German Nobel Prize Laureate Herta Müller: her collages, her traumas and her fears.
“My mother was afraid that I would leave her and in a certain way I never did”.
At the age of 18 Arnon Grunberg leaves Amsterdam Zuid with the ambition to become an actor and to escape his dominant mother and his taciturn father.
Now, 44 years old and a successful writer living in New York, he decides that it is time to return to his family home.
What lies hidden behind the imposing coloured planes in Mark Rothko’s paintings? Filmmaker Marjoleine Boonstra wanders through the life and work of Mark Rothko and visualizes his sources of inspiration in an attempt to bring the artist closer to us.
With Christopher Rothko, Mark Rothko’s son, who reads quotes from his father’s writings; Annie Cohen-Solal, Rothko’s biographer; Franz Kaiser, curator of the Rothko exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague; and Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, a conservation specialist on Rothko.
In Nelsons No 5, Carmen Cobos’ second feature documentary, the world-renowned Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons – a man who is gentle and modest, but deeply passionate about his craft – takes on the Shostakovich masterpiece together with one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
This is a portrait of the Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaou whyle he travels trough Europe with his dance performance. He is one of the most versatile and successful dance artists of our times.
In 2013 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra toured the world to celebrate its 125th anniversary: 50 concerts spread over 6 continents. Unbounded passion and love for music brings musicians and concert goers together.
Donna Giovanna is after Rigoletto (2003) and Samson and Delilah (2006) the third operafilm presented by Opera Spanga. Donna Giovanna is a female version of the male womanizer. She is a tragic personality, whose self-confidence is based on a shaky ground: her admirers. And although we condemn her behavior, we can’t withstand the repulsive wish to hold her in our arms.
Prices for contemporary art are going through the roof despite the lousy economic situation in general. Internet, the growing number of rich individuals and globalization have changed the art market beyond recognition. Has contemporary art become a commodity in the hands of the super rich private collectors?
In nature only one rule counts; eat or be eaten. This documentary is a poetic, and visually arresting documentary about the curious relationship between man and the rise of the wild boar. The film tells a story about confusion, despair and opportunity amidst the invasion of unruly creatures that won’t abide by manmade rules and laws. From the dark woods where it originates, this almost uncontrollably dangerous creature goes deeper and deeper into our villages and cities but at the same time tickles our imagination and inspires us. This is an exploration of a society conflicted with nature and a reflection of the curiosity of human nature itself. Will we eat them or will they eventually devour us?
Artist Florentijn Hofman is conquering the world with his huge, iconic and witty sculptures. He is famous for his creation of the ‘Rubber Duck’. This inflatable duck has been floating in the waters of Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Osaka and Sao Paulo.
This documentary is a is a cinematic poem about four young creative Egyptian women.
Most of the material is filmed by the characters themselves, who worked with the film’s directors in a process of collaboration and mentorship over a course of two years.
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was one of the most prominent post-war American artists and is considered a key founder of conceptual art. His art could be described as obsession pushed to the limit of paradox and absurdity: an often simple idea leading to an overwhelming visual and intellectual beauty. To make progress, you need to go back to the essence, he felt.
In this documentary the Jewish historian Saul Friedländer (1932, Prague) and his life-long quest to describe the extermination of the European Jews without losing or repressing a primary feeling of disbelief. Friedländer’s life and work is totally intertwined with the history of Europe and European Jewry.
This documentary tells the story of innovative designer, Piet Zwart (1885-1977) who clashed with the limitations of his era. He worked as an interior and industrial designer, commercial typographer, photographer, critic and lecturer, playing a key role in defining the design climate in the Netherlands in the Twentieth Century. His versatility and influence on present-day designers led the Association of Dutch Designers to award him the title of ‘Designer of the Century’ in 2000.
Toer van Schayk (1936) is a dancer, choreographer, artist and set and costume designer. This documentary pays tribute to this great artist and shows the development of his inexhaustible and versatile talent of his unparalleled choreography for ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ in Warsaw and the moment where he receives the Oeuvre Award from Benois de la Danse at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
In the late Renaissance, at the height of Mantua’s artistic splendor, the young Jewish violinist Salomone Rossi Hebreo became one of the most renowned composers and performers at the court of the Gonzaga dukes. In 1622 he revolutionized Jewish music with his “Songs of Solomon”, the first collection ever of originally composed music for Hebrew psalms and prayers.
Documentary about South African poet and singer
Gert Vlok Nel.
Paradiso highlights, as in an exhilarating rollercoaster ride, all aspects of the Amsterdam pop temple in a film in which the musicians are central, so it’s first and foremost also about what it means to perform in front of an audience.
If this piece of music had never been composed, the lives of many people would have been fundamentally different.
The artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is known around the world as a genius who for artistic reasons embarked on new roads in the history of art. But why did he paint all those self-portraits, where did he stand with respect to the art of portrait painting, why did he dedicate himself to etching and why did he have such a large studio with so many students?
Violinist Ivry Gitlis is known as one of the greatest musical talents of his generation. He belongs to the group of violin legends from the 20th century, a league of its own, that also includes Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Ida Haendel and George Enesco.
Jewelry designer Ted Noten (1956) is well-known for his cheeky pieces of jewelry. Are they wearable? Not necessarily. Are they provocative? Absolutely.
A series of see-through purses containing a gun, a chameleon or a line of coke with a pearl necklace… At first glance, Noten seems to be a man of the brutal gesture. But does he merely want to provoke, or is there more to it?
Filmmaker Karin Junger explores the Nederlands Dans Theather (DNT) through the eyes of two dancers currency with the company, and two former dancers who were part of the company in its very beginnings. We follow the ups and downs of a dancer’s life, the hard work, the joys of creation, and the sacrifices often made in the private life and physical condition of the average dancer.
Brilliant and wayward in equal measure, Dutch artist G.P. Fieret (1925-2009) shares his life with us through his self-portraits and grainy photographs of women.
Erik Kessels (1966) is co-founder of the unconventional advertising agency KesselsKramer, graphic designer, curator but moreover he is a passionate photo collector, which he exhibits in books.
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) left us a small oeuvre of only 36 paintings.
Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf is on the threshold of an important year: his most recent photographic series, Hope, Grief and Rain appear to have given him an international breakthrough and, for the first time, major international museums are showing an interest.
The miraculous story of a Christian boy who was converted to Islam and became one of the greatest architects of the 16th century.
Van Gogh the artist is world-famous but the popular conception of Van Gogh the man is disorted.
This documentary tells the fascinationg stories behind the masterpieces of Frans Hals.
The world-famous Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires lives on a beautiful farm, somewhere in rural Portugal, close to the Spanish border. Far away from urban centres and sparsely populated, it is a vast site of wild natural beauty. Once she longed for a place where she could hide away, where she could be herself and not have to live up to other people’s expectations.
Rutger Hauer is by far the most famous Dutch actor ever. Forever known for ‘Soldier of Orange’, ‘Turkish Delight’, popular children’s series ‘Floris’ (all by director Paul Verhoeven) and of course ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Hitcher’ – titles that go way back.
Dutch fashion duo Viktor & Rolf first became famous as conceptual, artistic designers. But after years of being regarded as eccentric designers that were a tad too avant-garde for the fashion mainstream, the duo finally stepped into the haute-couture limelight when they struck a deal with cosmetics-titan L’Oréal to develop their own perfume.
Few facts are known about the Dutch painter Frans Hals as a person, but one can learn a lot about him as an artist by observing his paintings closely.
Marlene Dumas is one of the best-known contemporary artists in the world. She was born and bred in South Africa and has worked and lived in Holland since 1976.
A documentary by Liesbeth Hagen on myth and reality about the Harem in Western art.
Step by step, film maker Paul Molijn traces the life of the famous master Vincent van Gogh. We see the current surroundings of the places where the artist lived and worked, alternated with drawings and paintings he made there.
This outstanding documentary by Paul Molijn about the life and work of Rembrandt van Rijn tells the story of Rembrandt by giving an insight into the time in which he lived and the circumstances in which Rembrandt’s career was formed. The documentary lets us travel along with Rembrandt in a geographical reconstruction of his life. It features a cavalcade of beautiful images, showing where Rembrandt found his inspiration.
A wonderful documentary about traditional African architecture
Registration of the popular Prinsengrachtconcerts which are traditionally held each year on the old canals of Amsterdam (available on HD; the concerts before 2009 are not HD).
An interesting portrait of the life and work of the famous Dutch photographer of celebrities, Anton Corbijn